Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 August 2019 – Students Test SPHERES

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
August 13, 2019
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 August 2019 –  Students Test SPHERES
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 August 2019 - Students Test SPHERES.

The International Space Station is the setting today for a student competition to control tiny, free-floating satellites aboard the orbiting lab.
Meanwhile, the Expedition 60 crewmembers conducted a variety of research operations and continued configuring a pair of spacesuits.

Middle school students are competing to design algorithms that autonomously control basketball-sized SPHERES satellites aboard the station. The student-written software tests rendezvous and docking maneuvers that simulate scenarios such as retrieving an inoperable satellite. Flight Engineers Andrew Morgan and Alexander Skvortsov were on hand monitoring the SPHERES contest inside the Kibo laboratory module.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch is helping scientists learn how to print and grow human organs in space. She printed tissue samples using the BioFabrication Facility in the Columbus lab module. The samples are housed for several weeks inside a specialized incubator to promote cellular growth. Earth’s gravity inhibits 3-D bioprinters and incubators from recreating and growing complex organic structures.

Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Luca Parmitano continued working on U.S. spacesuits and spacewalking tools during the afternoon. Hague started the day configuring a fluorescence microscope that can observe cellular changes in microgravity. Parmitano serviced Europe’s Fluid Science Laboratory to continue researching the physics of fluids in microgravity.

Commander Alexey Ovchinin worked in the Russian segment of the space lab today readying obsolete gear for return to Earth aboard a Soyuz spacecraft. The veteran cosmonaut spent the rest of the afternoon servicing life support gear and inspecting biology research hardware.

On-Orbit Status Report

Acoustic Diagnostics: The crew reviewed the big picture words for the upcoming Acoustics Diagnostics investigation. The Acoustic Upgraded Diagnostics In-Orbit (Acoustic Diagnostics) investigation tests the hearing of ISS crew members before, during, and after flight. This study assesses the possible adverse effects of noise and the microgravity environment aboard the ISS on human hearing. The investigation compares the relationship between the detection of otoacoustic emissions, sounds naturally generated from within the inner ear, and hearing loss levels when exposed to noisy environments.

Biofabrication Facility (BFF): Following the successful execution of the corrective procedure earlier this week, the crew performed the cassette installation/removal and the syringe swaps in support of the first science print with cells. If successful, the printed tissue will remain in the BFF for a period of time, then be transferred to the thermally-controlled ADSEP (ADvanced Space Experiment Processor). Using 3D biological printers to produce usable human organs has long been a dream of scientists and doctors around the globe. However, printing the tiny, complex structures found inside human organs, such as capillary structures, has proven difficult to accomplish in Earth’s gravity environment. To overcome this challenge, Techshot designed their BFF to print organ-like tissues in microgravity, acting as a stepping stone in a long-term plan to manufacture whole human organs in space using refined biological 3D printing techniques.

Fluid Science Laboratory/Reference mUltiscale Boiling Investigation (FSL/RUBI) Reconfiguration: In preparation for the upcoming investigation, the crew performed the RUBI harness configuration and installation. Some difficulties were encountered installing the cables and the ground team is discussing if the current configuration is suitable. Nucleate boiling is a process that is used in many technical applications of heat transfer. Examples are power plants and reactor technology, air conditioning technology as well as chemical and process engineering. The design of new processes and evaporators is significantly hindered by the fact that general methods of calculation are not available yet. The development of such methods requires a better understanding of highly complex and dynamic transport phenomena.

Multi-purpose Small Payload Rack (MSPR) Reconfiguration: The crew performed a test sample removal and reconfiguration of the Fluorescence Microscope. The MSPR is a multipurpose payload rack system used in the JEM. It has two workspaces and a worktable that can be used for wide fields of space environment utilization including science and educational missions.

SPHERES Zero Robotics Dry Run and Competition: The crew supported the dry run and student competition for the 2019 middle School Summer Program. The completion went very well and numerous tests were successfully performed. The middle school teams could be heard cheering several times in the background. The premise of this ZR session is for one SPHERES satellite to retrieve a damaged SPHERES satellite from a virtual debris field in low Earth orbit. ZR allows middle school and high school students develop code to achieve the goals of the competition. The algorithms are tested by the SPHERES team and the best designs are selected for the competition to operate the SPHERES satellites on board the ISS.

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Preparations: The crew performed the following preparations for the International Docking Adapter (IDA)3 EVA currently planned no earlier than August 21:

Completed maintenance cycle on all helmet lights, Pistol Grip Tool (PGT) batteries and Rechargeable EVA Battery Assemblies (REBAs).
Verified Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER) functionality.
Tool configuration
Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products (CSA-CP) Maintenance: The crew performed this regularly scheduled maintenance to replace battery packs in all CSA-CPs and zero calibrate the units.

Completed Task List Activities:
EMU Secondary Oxygen Package (SOP) Check-Out Fixture (SCOF) Positive Pressure Relief Valve Cycling
REGEN Keepout Zone Reference Print

Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
Payloads ops support

Look Ahead:
Saturday, 8/10 (GMT 222)

Lighting Effects

Crew off duty; housekeeping

Sunday, 8/11 (GMT 223)

Lighting Effects
Standard Measures

Crew off duty

Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Lighting Effects Sleep Log Entry
Reminder Lighting Effects Cognition Tests
Reminder HRF Generic Urine Collection End
HRF Generic Urine Collection Male
HRF Generic Sample MELFI Retrieval And Insertion Operations
ISS Crew and ???? (RSA Flight Control Team) weekly conference
BioFabrication Facility Tissue Print With Cells Install
Microscope Filter Cube REPLACEMENT
Inventory Management System (IMS) conference
BFF MERLIN Sample Removal
BioFabrication Facility MELFI Sample Retrieve
SEPARATION. Distillation Unit Teardown and Prep for Return on Soyuz 743
BioFabrication Facility Tissue Print With Cells Install
Microscope (MS) Test Sample Removal
Lighting Effects Cognition Test 1 HRF PC 1
HRF Generic Urine Collection Stow
EVA Camera Accessories Bag follow-up
SEPARATION. Distillation Unit Teardown and Prep for Return on Soyuz 743
Reconnecting ??? unit with ???? (No.10358271) panel 131 to ???? No.10371341
Lighting Effects Cognition Test 2 HRF PC 1
Food Acceptability Questionnaire
BioFabrication Facility Cleaning Syringe Install
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tool Configuring
On MCC Go Connecting telemetry cable to PL Matching Unit ???? No.10371341
Health Check of Condensate ???? No.10371341
Food Acceptability Questionnaire
BioFabrication Facility MELFI Sample Retrieve
BioFabrication Facility Glacier Sample Retrieve
BioFabrication Facility Tissue Cassette Removal
ISS Experience Solid State Drive Changeout
FOTOBIOREACTOR. Visual inspection with photography
Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue (SAFER) Checkout
Lighting Effects Cognition Test 3 HRF PC 1
Spacecraft Atmosphere Monitor MCA Plug Remove
BFF MERLIN Sample Insertion
Lighting Effects Sleep Log Entry

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