Space Stations

NASA Space Station Status Report 7 September, 2022 – How Plants Are Affected by Long-term Exposure to Microgravity

By SpaceRef Editor
Status Report
September 8, 2022
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NASA Space Station Status Report 7 September, 2022 – How Plants Are Affected by Long-term Exposure to Microgravity
Expedition 60 Flight Engineer Nick Hague of NASA harvests Mizuna mustard greens. (July 9, 2019)

Space botany and eye checks were at the top of the research schedule aboard the International Space Station on Wednesday. Life support system upgrades also continued during the middle of the week for the Expedition 67 crew members.

Understanding how plants and humans are affected by long-term exposure to microgravity is key to prolonging mission success beyond low Earth orbit and to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. NASA and its international partners are learning how crews can sustain themselves independently of ground support for longer periods of time.

Growing vegetables on space missions is critical so astronauts can feed themselves without the support of cargo missions regularly launching from Earth to replenish crews. The XROOTS space agriculture study does not use soil and is exploring growing radishes and mizuna greens on the station using hydroponic and aeroponic methods. Today, NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren recirculated fluids for the botany experiment and checked the condition of the growing plants. The study takes place inside the Columbus laboratory module and may inform ways to grow crops on larger scales during missions farther away from Earth.

Lindgren later assisted his fellow astronauts Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins of NASA, including Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency), as they wrapped up two days of life support system upgrades. The quartet moved the oxygen generation system (OGS) rack from the Tranquility module to the U.S. Destiny laboratory module, then moved the Life Support Rack (LSR) from the Harmony module to Tranquility. The foursome finished rack power and data cable connections as well as fluid umbilical installations. The LSR is demonstrating capturing carbon dioxide from the cabin air and recovering 50% of its oxygen for crew use. New sensors are also being tested to detect hydrogen and protect the OGS rack.

The orbiting lab’s three cosmonauts from Roscosmos began and ended their day with eye checks. Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineers Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov took turns in the morning scanning each other’s eyes using the Ultrasound 2 device, part of the station’s Human Research Facility-1. In the afternoon, Korsakov took charge as Crew Medical Officer and used medical imaging gear to picture Matveev’s retinas. The eye exams help doctors understand how weightlessness affects vision and the shape of the eye. The trio then spent the rest of the day stowing spacewalk tools, working on life support and electrical systems, and analyzing the Zvezda service module’s atmosphere.

On-Orbit Status Report


Life Support Rack (LSR): Power, data, fluid umbilicals, and adapters were installed between NOD3A5 ISS utilities and the LSR Rack Interface Panel. LSR is a technology demonstrator for closed loop air revitalization. LSR captures carbon dioxide from cabin air and recovers 50% of its oxygen for use by the astronauts. LSR will operate for a minimum of one year on the ISS to demonstrate the robustness of the technology for future Exploration Missions.

Fixed radio frequency identification (RFID) Smart Sensing: Crew reviewed procedures and big picture words in preparation of upcoming RFID Smart Sensing operations. RFID readers and antennas have operated on the International Space Station since 2017 and were also installed on a robotic free-flying Astrobee in January 2021. RFID-Enabled Autonomous Logistics Management-3 (REALM-3) (RFID Smart Sensing) builds on this work, extending reach of RFID signals behind stowage racks and placing motion sensors imbedded in RFID tags on rack doors. Results could increase the accuracy of RFID inventory and item location.

eXposed Root On-Orbit Test System (XROOTS): Nutrient solution was inserted into the XROOTS facility, fluid from Root Modules was recirculated back into the Fluids Reservoir and a plant check was performed. The XROOTS investigation uses hydroponic and aeroponic techniques to grow plants without soil or other growth media. Video and still images enable evaluation of multiple independent growth chambers for the entire plant life cycle from seed germination through maturity. Results could identify suitable methods to produce crops on a larger scale for future space missions.


Hydrogen Sensor Tech Demo (H2ST) Installation on OGS: The Oxygen Generation System (OGS) H2ST is a demonstration of new hydrogen sensors for the Advanced OGA. Today, the H2ST was installed as a standalone box outside of OGS. An older H2 sensor is currently inside the OGS that monitors the same data, but the tech demo will test the new sensor’s developments. The performance of a new H2ST sensor will compare it to the older H2 sensor over the next few years. The expectation is H2ST will reduce sensor drift (longer calibration life) and improve reliability (reduce susceptibility to condensation damage).

Node 1 Hatch Seal Inspection: Today, the crew inspected the Node 1 Forward, Aft, Starboard, and Port hatches as well as any hatches the OGS or LSR racks translated through during the rack swap. The crew checked the hatch seals, hatch plate sealing surfaces, crank handle mechanisms, hatch seal interlocking joints, and PMM Hatch Kicker Pins for damage or foreign object debris (FOD). The crew reported no new imperfections or damage in Node 1.

Intermodule Ventilation (IMV) Flow Measurement Survey: To monitor the health of the IMV system, a Velocicalc tool was used to measure the airflow passing through ventilation inlets and outlets. The IMV system circulates air between all ISS modules to air revitalization equipment so an ideal atmospheric condition is maintained throughout ISS. Today, the crew used the Velocicalc device to measure airflow in the Node 1, Node 2, Node 3, Airlock, Cupola, Lab, BEAM, and NRAL modules.

Completed Task List Activities:

  • None

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

  • Life Support Rack Activation and Checkout
  • Crew Dragon Awake Mode Checkout
  • CDH Hub Control Zone (HCZ) MDM Patch Loading

Look Ahead Plan

Thursday, September 8 (GMT 251)

  • GRIP Seated Session (ESA)
  • LSR Umbilical Connect (ESA)
  • NRCSD-23 Disassembly Hardware Gather (NASA)
  • RFID Smart Sensing Hardware Install (NASA)
  • Standard Measures Saliva Collect (NASA)
  • TOILET Test (NASA)
  • VEGGIE Monitoring Photos (NASA)


  • Toilet Test and Checkout
  • LTL Gas Trap Plug Installation
  • Small PL Multi-purpose Controller Power Cable Connection

Friday, September 9 (GMT 252)

  • GRIP Supine Session (ESA)
  • NRCSD-23 Hardware Removal (NASA)
  • Standard Measures Saliva Collect (NASA)
  • XROOTS Fluid Recovery, Plant Check (NASA)


  • SpX-Crew Dragon Emergency Response Review
  • US Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Tether Inspection
  • Gather CWC-Is

Saturday, September 10 (GMT 253)

  • Off Duty


  • Crew Off-Duty Day

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

  • CEVIS Install
  • Crew Dragon Zenith Monthly PCS Checkout
  • EICL V4 Initial Installation, PHEG Connection, and Stow
  • Software Installation and Reboot of the European IP Comm Laptop
  • ISS EveryWear (EVW) Nutrition Tracking
  • OCT2 Exam, Setup, Prep, and Stow
  • Ultrasound 2 Scan
  • Health MaUltrasound 2 Scan Prep
  • Ultrasound 2 Post Exam
  • Ultrasound 2 HRF Rack 2 Power On
  • Ultrasound 2 Scan performed by a Crew Medical Officer
  • WinSCAT Test
  • HRF Generic MELFI Sample Insertion Operations
  • Hydrogen Sensor Tech Demo (H2ST) Installation on OGS
  • Hatch Seal Inspection
  • Lab Bay 1 Reconfiguration Post Rack Transfers
  • Life Support Rack (LSR) Umbilical Installation
  • T2 Moderate Temperature Loop (MTL) Inspection [Deferred]
  • T2 MTL Spiral Wrap [Deferred]
  • BIOS Setup of the European IP Communication Laptop
  • NOD2D2 Restow
  • Robotics On-board Trainer (ROBoT) Setup
  • Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in JEM
  • Rack Swap Restow Activity
  • GRIP Experiment Constraints Reminder
  • Radio Frequency Identification Logistics Big Picture Words
  • Standard Measures Body Sampling Collection, Survey, and Stow
  • Standard Measures Cognition Testing
  • IMV Flow Measurement Survey
  • Urine Transfer System Adlink Cable Check
  • Veggie Monitoring Reference Material Review
  • XROOTS Water Recovery, Status Check
  • NUTRIENT Solution Fill and Mixing

SpaceRef staff editor.