Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status Report 10 January, 2022 – Space Agriculture

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
January 12, 2022
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NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status Report 10 January, 2022 – Space Agriculture
Extra Dwarf Pak Choi plants growing aboard the International Space Station. (Mar. 26, 2021)

The Expedition 66 crew kicked off Monday promoting space agriculture and observing how the human cell adapts to weightlessness.
Two cosmonauts are also gearing up for the first spacewalk of 2022 set to begin next week at the International Space Station.

Growing plants in space is critical to keeping crews healthy as NASA and its international partners plan human missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Just like humans living in space, microgravity affects plants and scientists want to learn how to successfully grow crops in space to sustain crews with less support from Earth.

Today, NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei harvested the shoots and roots of Arabidopsis plants grown on petri plates inside the Veggie facility. Fellow NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari collected the harvested samples and stowed them in a science freezer for later analysis. The APEX-07, or Advanced Plant Experiment-07, study is looking at how microgravity affects genetic expression in plants.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer worked throughout Monday on the Cytoskeleton space biology study. That study takes place in the Kibo laboratory module and uses the Life Science Glovebox to explore how the internal machinery of the human cell is impacted by long-term space missions.

NASA Flight Engineer Kayla Barron also worked in Kibo and set up the new Mochii electron-scanning microscope to identify trace particles aboard the station. NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn worked on life sciences experiments throughout Monday before inspecting and cleaning hatch seals in the station’s U.S. segment.

Commander Anton Shkaplerov and Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov partnered together during the morning on a pair of Russian studies looking at how space affects heart activity and arm muscles. The duo later spent the rest of the day setting up Russian Orlan spacesuits for a spacewalk set to begin on Jan. 19. The two cosmonauts will spend about seven hours in the vacuum of space outfitting the station’s newest modules, Nauka and Prichal.

On-Orbit Status Report


Advanced Plant Experiment-07 (APEX-07): A harvest was performed for the plants that have been growing in petri plate experiment containers in the Veggie Facilities. This harvest follows approximately 12 days of plant growth for the Arabidopsis thaliana. APEX-07 examines how changes in gravity and other environmental factors associated with spaceflight affect plants at the level of gene expression. Previous research shows that microgravity conditions during spaceflight affects which genes turn on or off, which proteins are present and in what amounts, and the modifications made to those proteins. All of these processes are controlled by Ribonucleic acid (RNA), and this investigation analyzes the role of RNA regulation on gene expression during spaceflight in both roots and shoots of plants.

Behavioral Core Measures (BCM): The crew completed a Robotic On-Board Trainer (ROBoT) research session. The Standardized Behavioral Measures for Detecting Behavioral Health Risks during Exploration Missions (Behavioral Core Measures) experiment initially examined a suite of measurements to reliably assess the risk of adverse cognitive or behavioral conditions and psychiatric disorders during long-duration spaceflight, and evaluated the feasibility of those tests within the operational and time constraints of spaceflight for two crewmembers. Subsequent subjects perform a subset of the original activities to measure the performance capabilities of deconditioned crew members to complete either individual or crew telerobotic operations within the first 24 hours after landing. This information could help characterize what tasks a crewmember who has spent months in weightlessness can reasonably be expected to perform after landing on the surface of Mars.

Cytoskeleton: Following the transfer of the experiment culture chambers to the Life Sciences Glovebox (LSG), the crew performed the third and final round of the LSG experiment operations. In vitro cultures of mammalian cells react specifically to microgravity, but there is no solid scientific evidence available about how and why. The Involvement of Rho family GTPases in gravity perception and reaction (Cytoskeleton) investigation attempts to acquire new information about the events that are happening inside a mammalian cell, with the working hypothesis that the microgravity environment affects the function of RhoGTPases and the cellular signaling that they control. RhoGTPases are signaling molecules residing under the Rho family of proteins, known to be involved as “molecular switches”, in the control of cell proliferation, apoptosis (programmed cell death), gene expression (flow of genetic information from gene to protein), and cytoskeletal organization.

Microbial Tracking-3 (MT-3): Samples were gathered for the first of five consecutive days in support of the MT-3 experiment. Sample locations included various one square meter areas of Node 3, Node 2, Node 1, PMM, and the US Lab. The Quantifying Selection for Pathogenicity and Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria and Fungi on the ISS – a Microbial Tracking Study (Microbial Tracking-3 or MT-3) investigation continues a series focused on ongoing monitoring of pathogenicity (ability to cause disease) and antibiotic resistance in potentially disease-causing bacteria and fungi present on the ISS. The investigation aims to identify, analyze, and characterize pathogenicity, antibiotic resistance, and genomics to augment the NASA GeneLab with the statistical confidence to characterize microbes associated with closed habitation and predict those that may pose a threat to crew health.

Mochii: Following unsuccessful activation and troubleshooting of a previous set of Mochii hardware in 2020, new hardware was flown up on SpX-24 and set up in the JEM for a series of checkouts. Mochii is a miniature scanning electron microscope (SEM) with spectroscopy which will be used to conduct real-time, on-site imaging and compositional measurements of particles on the ISS. Such particles can cause vehicle and equipment malfunctions and threaten crew health, but currently, samples must be returned to Earth for analysis, leaving crew and vehicle at risk. Mochii also provides a powerful new analysis platform to support novel microgravity science and engineering.

Wireless Compose: The crew installed experiment base station and anchor motes in their designated locations in the Columbus module. The anchor motes serve as fixed points for calculating positions of mobile tracking devices. The main scientific goal of the Wireless Communication Network (Wireless Compose-2) investigation is to provide a flexible and adaptable wireless network infrastructure to conduct and execute low-power, low-weight, and wireless experiments on the ISS. For this demonstration, Wireless Compose-2 operates several experiments, including an experiment to examine the impact of the space environment on the cardiovascular system. Additionally, Wireless Compose-2 demonstrates newly developed Impulse Radio Ultra-Wide-Bband (IR-UWB) hardware to enable precise localization applications and to analyze the energy harvesting potential on the ISS.


Atmosphere-Space Interaction Monitor (ASIM) Robotics Operations: Robotics ground teams commanded robotics operations to successfully remove the ASIM payload from the SpaceX-24 Dragon trunk and install it at the Starboard Deck Nadir Columbus platform. There were some issues mating the Flight Releaseable Attachment Mechanism (FRAM) at the install site due to alignment offsets, but teams were able to work through them. Upon successful install, power was applied, activating the heaters and ending the thermal clock on the operations

Inflight Maintenance Hatch Seal Inspection: Today, the ISS crew completed a cleaning and inspection of the USOS Hatch Seals, Hatch Plate Sealing Surfaces, and Crank Handle Mechanisms for foreign Object Debris (FOD) or damage in Node 3, Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM), JEM Pressurized Module (JPM) and the JEM Experiment Logistics Module – Pressurized (JLP).

On-Orbit Sampling: The crew deployed two Formaldehyde Monitoring Kits (FMKs) in designated sample locations for post-flight analysis of on-orbit formaldehyde levels. The crew also used a Grab Sample Container (GSC) to collect instantaneous air samples for post-flight analysis. Sampling is performed every 45 days.

Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows (WinSCAT) Test: The crew performed their monthly WinSCAT test. The test is a screening tool developed by NASA to monitor astronauts and their neuro-cognitive status while in space and alert NASA flight surgeons to any accuracy or reaction time changes in an astronaut’s performance. WinSCAT tests working memory, computational skills, attention, visual tracking and spatial processing.

Environmental Health System (EHS) Operations: The ISS crew performed periodic EHS water sampling by collecting water samples from the Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) for in-flight and post-flight analysis. In-flight samples were used to perform a Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) analysis that measures the amount of organic constituents in the potable water. The crew also tested the water samples for the presence of Coliform bacteria utilizing a Coliform test bag. These tests are used to determine if the drinking water is still safe for crew consumption.

Completed Task List Activities:

EPO message recording
Today’s Ground Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Secondary Power System (SPS) FET Control Hybrid (FCH) Troubleshooting [Aborted]
Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator (SPDM) Flight Releasable Attachment Mechanism (FRAM) Operations
Atmosphere Revitalization System (ARS) Node 3 Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Deactivation [Active]
ARS Four Bed CO2 Scrubber Activation [Active]
Look Ahead Plan

Tuesday, January 11 (GMT 11)

EasyMotion suit stow
Food Acceptability
HISUI MDR HDD exchange
MERLIN drawer swap
Mochii Sample Exchange
MSL procedure review
MT-3 sample collect
MVP-Plant-01 Removal
Plant Habitat-05 Harvest 2
Rhodium Probiotic sample removal and transfer
Ring Sheared Drop Motor removal
Standard Measures Post Sleep question
TangoLab MERLIN Cube Photo
Vascular Aging

Countermeasures System (CMS) Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) Quarterly Maintenance
In Flight Maintenance (IFM) Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC) Pre-Treat Tank Remove & Replace (R&R)
Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) 3013 Troubleshooting
Dragon Cargo ops
Wednesday, January 12 (GMT 12)

ExHAM (HXP) item perp
NUTRISS Measurement
MSRR/MSL-SCA Exchange B3#-17
MT-3 Sample collect
Plant Habitat-05 MELFI insert
Ring Sheared Drop motor remove
TangoLab Merlin cube photo
Veggie Monitoring

Environmental Health System (EHS) Water Sample Analysis 44+/-4 hrs post processing.
EHS Microbial Air Sampler (MAS) Kit Sample Collection
EHS Surface Sample Kit (SSK) Collection/Incubation
EHS Tissue Equivalent Proportional Counter (TEPC) Fuse R&R
Thursday, January 13 (GMT 13)

APEX-07 Clean and dry
AstroPi Swap and lens adjustment
Food Physiology Diet Brief
HRF PC software load prep
Mochii Sample load and sample exchange
MT-3 Sample Collect
Nanoracks MFA module-96 install
Rhodium Probiotics Chamber to Cold Stowage

Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) Fluid System Servicer (FSS) setup and refill of the Lab Low Temperature Loop (LTL) Pump Package Assembly (PPA) accumulator.
Microbial Tracking-3 Environmental Sample Collection
Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Drain
EVA Lower Torso Assembly (LTA) Repair
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

Microbial Tracking-3 Environmental Sample Collection
Wireless Compose Motes Installation
Environmental Health System (EHS) Radiation Environment Monitor 2 (REM2) SSC12 Connect
Polar Multiple Desiccant Swap
Space Automated Bioproduct Lab, Hard Drive Swap
Columbus Payload Power Switching Box (PPSB) – SDX switches reconfigured to DISCHARGE
Environmental Health System (EHS) Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Sample Collect
VEGGIE On-Board Training for APEX
APEX-07 Petri Plate Harvest
Artemis HERA (Hybrid Electronic Radiation Assessor) on Space Station (A-HoSS) Adlink Mini PC Reboot
Columbus Payload Power Switching Box (PPSB) – SDN switches reconfigured to ON
Environmental Health System (EHS) Coliform Water Processing
Cytoskeleton Operations
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) Sample Analysis
CTB Consolidation
Hatch Seal Inspection
Behavioral Core Measures ROBoT-r Research Testing
Payloads Network Attached Storage (NAS) Vent Cleaning
Transfer Crew Dragon Cargo Operations
Health Maintenance System (HMS) Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows (WinSCAT) Test
Mochii Activation and First Sample Load
Vacuum System Lab Port 4 Swap Part 2
Environmental Health System (EHS) – Formaldehyde Monitoring Kit (FMK) Deployment Operations
Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Sample Data Record

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