Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 December 2020 – New Space Biology Experiments

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
December 10, 2020
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 December 2020 – New Space Biology Experiments
Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins checks on biological samples.

The Expedition 64 crew kicked off an array of new space biology experiments delivered this week aboard the SpaceX Cargo Dragon.
The International Space Station residents will be gaining unique insights about the human heart, muscles and stem cells that only microgravity can provide.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins started looking at cardiovascular cells inside the Life Science Glovebox today for the Cardinal Heart study. She serviced samples to help scientists understand the aging and weakening of heart muscles to provide new treatments for humans on Earth and astronauts in space.

Mice are being set up inside specialized habitats today so researchers can continue studying how weightlessness affects the musculoskeletal system. NASA Flight Engineers Shannon Walker, Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins removed several dozen rodents from the Cargo Dragon vehicle and placed them inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module. Observations may enable advanced drug delivery systems to treat muscle diseases on Earth and prevent muscle atrophy in space.

JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi continued his stem cell research today to enable organ growth and understand genetic changes in space. The three-time space visitor viewed cell samples today with a microscope in the Kibo laboratory module to benefit organ transplant and regenerative technology.

Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov spent Wednesday working on Russian life support systems and science experiments. The duo worked on water transfers and air vent cleaning before setting up hardware to observe Earth’s atmosphere at different wavelengths.

On-Orbit Status Report


Cardinal Heart: The crew deployed and used the Life Science Glovebox to change the media in one of four Cardinal Heart Tissue Habitats. Effect of Microgravity on Drug Responses Using Engineered Heart Tissues (Cardinal Heart) studies the effects of change in gravitational force on cardiovascular cells at the cellular and tissue level using Engineered Heart Tissues (EHTs). Microgravity significantly affects heart tissues that perform work and exert an opposite force to gravity and is known to cause molecular and structural abnormalities in cells and tissues that can lead to disease. The investigation could provide new understanding of similar heart issues on Earth and help identify new treatments.

Rodent Research-10 (RR-10): The crew transferred rodents from the SpX-21 Dragon into the ISS Rodent Habitats. Tissue degeneration and failure of tissue to regenerate normally in microgravity are becoming increasing concerns for sustaining life in space. The CDKN1a/p21 pathway is known to be a key molecular mechanism involved in inhibiting tissue regenerative processes, and scientific evidence suggest it is required for the arrest of regenerative bone formation observed in microgravity.

Space Organogenesis: The crew performed Ssample inserts and medium exchanges for the Space Organogenesis experiment. The Development of Advanced 3D Organ Culture System Utilizing the Microgravity Environment (Space Organogenesis) investigation demonstrates growth of organ buds from human stem cells in three-dimensional (3D) cultures in microgravity. Researchers plan to use these cultures to observe growth of the organ buds and analyze changes in gene expression. Cell culture on Earth needs supportive materials or forces to achieve 3D growth, but in microgravity cell cultures likely can expand into three dimensions without those devices.

Vascular Echo: The crew completed the 13-hour data collection period using the Blood Pressure monitoring hardware and downloaded the data to the ground. Cardiac and Vessel Structure and Function with Long-Duration Space Flight and Recovery (Vascular Echo) examines changes in blood vessels, and the heart, while the crew members are in space, and then follow their recovery on return to Earth. The results could provide insight into potential countermeasures to help maintain crewmember health, and quality of life for everyone.


Short Extravehicular Mobility Unit (SEMU) Launch Enclosure Briefing: FE-12 participated in a briefing which covered preparing EMU 3008 for return, removal of EMU 3015 from the SLE and installing EMU 3008 into the SLE in the Dragon cabin. This swap is planned for tomorrow.

Cargo Transfer Ops: The crew continued transferring cargo from the Dragon vehicle to the ISS.

Completed Task List Activities:

Today’s Ground Activities:

MT translate from WS7 to WS5
Dragon transfer ops
Payloads support
Look Ahead Plan

Thursday, 12/10 (GMT 345)

Cardinal Heart Habitat (2) medium exchange (NASA)
Space Organogenesis Medium changes and Microscope ops (JAXA)
Moderate Temp PCG prep (JAXA)
Fiber Optics Sample exchange (NASA)
APM data transfer and Node 2 to Lab install (NASA)
NanoRacks Module 9 Ops 2 (NASA)
AstroRad Vest Fam (NASA)
Food Acceptability survey (NASA)
ACME CIR Bottle exchange (Joint)
EHS BioMole BMS stow (NASA)

Dragon transfer ops
Friday, 12/11 (GMT 346)

Toilet Crew Conf (NASA)
Space Organogenesis sample fixations and closeout (JAXA)
JAXA low temp PCG prep (JAXA)
Food Physiology Diet Brief (NASA)
ARS Thermal Amine Scrubber (TAS) Sampling System Install and troubleshoot (NASA)
Plant Habitat-02 Thinning (NASA)
Fiber Optics Sample exchange (NASA)
AstroRad vest don and Doff and Survey (NASA)
Rodent H2O check (NASA)
ISS Experience Hardware stow (NASA)
MonoClonal Antibodies PCG card fills (NASA)

Dragon emergency response OBT
Saturday, 12/12 (GMT 347)

Rotifer B2 Verification (ESA)

Crew off duty; housekeeping
Sunday, 12/13 (GMT 348)

Phospho-Aging Urine collect and MELFI insert (JAXA)
Plant Habitat-02 Leaf Gather (NASA)
Micro-14A Sampling (NASA)
LSG Front Glove Swap (NASA)
Standard Measures Blood setup (NASA)
Cardinal Heart Microscope Ops (NASA)

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

LSG Work Volume Deploy
Space Organogenesis Item Gathering
LSG Primary Crew Restraint Unfold
Crew Dragon Tablet Sync
Environmental Health System (EHS) Biomole Maintenance Work Area Prep 2
Crew Dragon Tablet Stow
BioMole MELFI Retrieve
ISS HAM Columbus Pass
BioMole Part 3: DNA Prep and Sequencing
XF305 Camcorder Setup
MELFI Medium Retrieval
Space Organogenesis Sample Check
Microscope Sample Installation 2
Space Organogenesis Compact Flash Memory Card 64GB Data Transfer
Rodent Research Animal Transfer 1
Cardinal Heart Tissue Chamber Media Change and Sample
ExtraVehicular Activity (EVA) Short EVA Mobility Unity Launch Enclosure (SLE) Training Crew training in preparation of EMU SLE rotation activities
Ultrasound 2 HRF Rack 1 Power On
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan Prep
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan performed by a Crew Medical Officer (CMO)
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan performed by a Crew Medical Officer (CMO)
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan
Preparation for working with ???2 smoke detectors (???-4)
Cardinal Heart MELFI Sample Insertion Operations Session
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Profile of Mood States (POMS) Questionnaire
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Post Exam
Microscope Sample Replacement 1
Cardinal Heart Node 2 Camcorder Video Setup
Cardinal Heart Tissue Chamber Media Change and Sample
Rodent Research Animal Transfer 2
Cargo Transfer to Dragon
XF305 Camcorder Setup
Microscope Sample Replacement 2
Space Organogenesis Medium Exchange 1
Vascular Aging 13-Hour Blood Pressure Monitoring Conclude Alternate
Cardinal Heart MELFI Sample Insertion Operations Session
Cardinal Heart Node 2 Camcorder Video Setup
Delta file prep
ExtraVehicular Activity (EVA) Short EVA Mobility Unity Launch Enclosure (SLE) Training Crew training in preparation of EMU SLE rotation activities
XF305 Camcorder Setup
LSG Primary Crew Restraint Fold
Microscope Sample Retrieval 2
LSG Work Volume Stow
Space Organogenesis Medium Exchange 2
Rodent Research Transporter Stow
Treadmill 2 (T2) Exercise Video Equipment Setup
PFA Transfer
Space Organogenesis Closeout 2
Treadmill 2 (T2) Exercise Video Equipment Stow
Program Management/ISS Crew Conference

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