Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 July 2019 – Let’s do Some Gardening

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
July 11, 2019
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 9 July 2019 – Let’s do Some Gardening
Leafy greens are pictured growing inside the Columbus laboratory module's VEGGIE botany research facility. The VEG-04 botany study is exploring the viability of growing fresh food in space to support astronauts on long-term missions. The salad-type plants are harvested after 28 days of growth, with some samples stowed for analysis and the rest taste-tested by the crew aboard the International Space Station. Credit: NASA. (July 5, 2019)

Biomedical research and space agriculture dominated the Expedition 60 crew’s schedule today. The investigations aboard the International Space Station are helping scientists, doctors and engineers plan human missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
Nick Hague of NASA started Tuesday morning collecting and stowing his blood and urine samples for a pair of life science studies. His blood samples are being compared with samples from space mice, other astronauts and ground patients for changes in protein expression. Another study is comparing the biological samples taken before, during and after a spaceflight.

NASA Flight Engineer Christina Koch set up a 360-degree camera to record station gardening activities. The crew has been recording immersive, cinematic experiences throughout the year to share with audiences on Earth.

It was harvest time during the afternoon in the orbiting lab’s Harmony module today. Hague and Koch were picking salad-type plants after 28 days of growth, stowing samples for analysis and taste testing the rest. The VEG-04 botany study is exploring the viability of growing fresh food in space to support astronauts on long-term missions.

Exercising in microgravity is critical to maintain a crewmember’s health and ensure successful space missions. Commander Alexey Ovchinin spent Tuesday morning supporting a Russian study investigating the effectiveness of space workouts. In the afternoon, he moved on to lab maintenance changing out life support system components.

On-Orbit Status Report

Human Research Facility (HRF) GDS tank photo: The crew took photos of the pressure gauges on the HRF)Gas Delivery System (GDS) gas cylinders which support the Portable Pulmonary Function System (PFS). This is a nominal, periodic requirement to monitor the pressures in the system. The Portable PFS is an autonomous multi-user facility supporting a broad range of human physiological research experiments under the condition of weightlessness in the areas of respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic physiology. Portable PFS also represents an evolution to the existing PFS onboard the ISS.

MERLIN4 Install: MERLIN4 was installed in EXPRESS Rack 8 in preparation to support the Biofabrication Facility in the SpX-18 timeframe. The MERLIN was powered up today, checked out, and will be powered off Wednesday. The MERLIN incubators are capable of storing samples at temperatures from -20.0°C to +48.5°C. MERLIN is part of the Cold Stowage Fleet of hardware which includes Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI) and General Laboratory Active Cryogenic ISS Experiment Refrigerator (GLACIER), Polar, and Coldbags.

The ISS Experience: The crew set up the camera system and captured a crew quarters discussion and Veg-04A harvest targets. The ISS Experience creates a virtual reality film documenting daily life aboard the ISS. The 8 to 10 minute videos created from footage taken during the six-month investigation cover different aspects of crew life, execution of science aboard the station, and the international partnerships involved. The ISS Experience uses a Z-CAM V1 Pro Cinematic Virtual Reality (VR) 360-degree camera with nine 190° fisheye lenses.

Two-phase Flow (TPF): The crew configured the valve settings to support the ongoing JAXA Two-phase flow (TPF) experiment. The last run of this series is expected to be completed this Wednesday. TPF investigates the heat transfer characteristics of flow boiling in the microgravity environment. This experiment provides a fundamental understanding of the behaviors of bubble formation, liquid-vapor flow in a tube, and how heat is transferred in cooling systems.

Veg-04A Harvest: The crew harvested the Veg-04A Mizuna plants from both Veggie facilities. Approximately half of the leaves will be returned to the ground for analysis, and half of the leaves are available for crew consumption. Both the ground analysis and crew tasting of the leaves will compare differences between the plants grown in blue light and plants grown in red light. The research of Veg-04A focuses on the impact of light quality and fertilizer on leafy crop growth for a 28-day grow-out, microbial food safety, nutritional value, taste acceptability by the crew, and the overall behavioral health benefits of having plants and fresh food in space.

Redundant United States Crewed Vehicle (USCV) Communications (RUC) Cable: The crew gathered hardware in preparation for tomorrow’s planned RUC cable routing. The new cable will provide voice path redundancy during nominal and emergency USCV mission scenarios in the future.

Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SSRMS) Fine Characterization Operations: Last night, Robotics Ground Controllers powered up the Mobile Servicing System (MSS) and maneuvered the SSRMS and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) to grasp the Mobile Base System (MBS) port H-Fixture. Then, the Auto-Wiggle commissioning was executed successfully which is a new software feature that will improve Remote Power Control Module (RPCM) R&R operations. A special software patch was loaded to perform SSRMS Force Moment Sensor (FMS) fine characterization. In addition, the SPDM Arm2 grasped the MBS port H-Fixture again and then the ground team characterized the SPDM Arm in all different directions and orientations at a certain force and moment to create loads on the SSRMS FMS sensor.

Water Storage System (WSS) Controller Communication Fault Status: After determining that the Secure Digital (SD) card that provides the operating system for WSS was corrupted based on testing on July 5, ground teams imaged the original WSS 8 Gigabyte (GB) SD Card with the WSS software and attempted to run a checksum. The checksum was not successful and resulted in an “input/output error.” Ground controllers then loaded a separate 32 GB SD card with the WSS software with the same result. To determine whether the software successfully loaded, the crew installed each SD card into WSS and the ground attempted to power on WSS. Each attempt was unsuccessful. Ground teams are working a forward plan.

Completed Task List Activities:
Payload Hand Pump Photo
Countermeasures Systems (CMS) Exercise Equipment Gather
ISS Experience within Crew Quarters

Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.
SSRMS FMS Fine Characterization
VEG04 Payload Support

Look Ahead:
Wednesday, 7/10 (GMT 191)

Cerebral Autoregulation
JAXA EPO dry run
Radi-N2 retrieval
The ISS Experience hardware stow
Veggie questionnaire

RUC Cable Routing
External HD camera boom build

Thursday, 7/11 (GMT 192)

Cerebral Autoregulation
CIR/ACME controller replacement
Food Acceptability
Genes in space-6
GLACIER4 desiccant swap
The ISS Experience
SABL CO2 meter swap
Time Perception
Veg-04A deactivation

Water Recovery Management (WRM) Water Balance Operations

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

HRF Generic Urine Collection Male
HRF Generic Sample MELFI Insertion Operations
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection
Verification of anti-virus scan results on Auxiliary Computer System (ВКС) laptops and Report to MCC
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Spin Conclude
On MCC Go Regeneration of БМП Micropurification Cartridge Ф2 (start)
Japan Aerospace eXploration Agency Sample MELFI Retrieval and Insertion
HRF Generic Sample MELFI Insertion
XF305 Camcorder Setup
Two-Phase Flow Experiment Equipment Valves Setting
PROFILAKTIKA-2. Experiment Ops (Individual Strategy Test)
HRF GDS Tank Pressure Gauge Photography
HRF Generic Urine Collection Male
HRF Generic Sample MELFI Retrieval And Insertion Operations
PROFILAKTIKA-2. Experiment Ops (Individual Strategy Test) in lieu of Exercise
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows (WinSCAT) Test
ISS Experience Node 2 Setup
PROFILAKTIKA-2. Hygiene Procedures
VEG-04 MWA Preparation
Redundant USCV Comm Gather
VEG-04 Plant Harvest for First Crew using Veggie Facility (Locker 7)
MERLIN4 Install No H2O
Changeout of Replaceable Condensate Removal Lines [СМОК]
ISS Experience Recording
VEG-04 Plant Harvest for Second Crew on Veggie1 Facility (Locker 1)
Microbial Removal Filter Flow
HRF Generic Urine Collection Male
HRF Generic Sample MELFI Retrieval And Insertion Operations
HRF Generic HRF Centrifuge Frozen Blood Collection Conclude And Stow
Veg-04 Plant Sanitizing
ISS Experience Record Conclude
VEG-04 MELFI Insertion #2
VEG-04 MELFI Insertion #3
VEG-04 Clean and Dry
HRF Veg Veg-04 Taste Test And Survey
HRF Generic Urine Collection Male
HRF Generic Sample MELFI Retrieval And Insertion Operations
ISS Experience Hardware Relocate
Water Recovery System Microbial Removal Filter Purge
On MCC GO Regeneration of Micropurification Unit (БМП) Ф2 Absorption Cartridge (end)

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.