Status Report

Enide Mission Information Report No. 2

By SpaceRef Editor
April 20, 2005
Filed under , , ,
Enide Mission Information Report No. 2

Flight Day 3 (17 April 2005, GMT Day 107):

Biology CSP: The transfer of the containers with the “Crickets in Space” for the CRISP2 experiment from Soyuz to the Russian segment of the ISS and their installation in the KUBIK incubator was carried out successfully as planned. The ESA astronaut performed the required rotation of the egg-collectors. KUBIK may require re-positioning in order to have a clearance of 20 cm for ventilation on all sides.

TLF: The transfer of the Fischer Rat Thyroid Low Serum 5% experiment to the other incubator for the Eneide mission, AQUARIUS-B, was performed as planned. TLF is aimed at assessing the effects of microgravity and radiation on in-vitro cultures of rat thyroid cells.

MIS: The “Microbial Life in Space” experiment was successfully transferred from Soyuz to its requested location in the Russian docking and airlock module Pirs. Microorganisms are well known for their capabilities to withstand extreme environmental conditions such as elevated temperature, high salinity, hydrostatic pressure, and toxic compounds. The exposure to radiations, vacuum, electricity, and magnetic waves has been investigated in the past, but still little information is available about the effects of the space environment on micro-organisms. For the MIS experiment, different microbial strains are flown in order to study the effect that space radiation and the weightless environmental conditions onboard the ISS have on the cultures. The experiment may improve our understanding on the basic biology of microorganisms, particularly on their tolerance to the spacecraft environment and on how the genetic material in the cells can be affected by in-flight space conditions. The experiment can further provide a greater understanding of the spacecraft environment itself.

VIN:  The container with the “Vines in Orbit” experiment was transferred successfully from Soyuz to the ISS. The ability to grow plants from seeds in space is of increasing importance given the plans for long-term crewed missions to the Moon and Mars. The aim of this experiment is to test the survival and growth in space of tendril grafts from vines coming from Tuscany and from Lazio. Tendrils are twisting, threadlike structures by which a twining plant, such as a grape or cucumber, grasps an object or a plant for support. Once back on the Earth, the tendrils will be implanted, to test their growth. These will be compared to equivalent plants that were treated in a similar fashion in parallel on the ground for reference purposes.

Physiology MOP: The required daily questionnaire for the “Motion Perception” (MOP) experiment started on Flight Day 1 was completed as planned. Technology

EST: The set-up for the “Electronics Space Test” (EST) experiment was carried out as planned. This consisted of switching the power supply of the device from battery power to ISS power. Over the past few years there have been major technical improvements and reduction in size of electronic and microelectronic devices for space applications. However, radiation resistant devices for space applications can cost up to 1000 times more than similar industrial components. The EST experiment shall demonstrate that industrial components can be implemented in space, if they are adequately protected and used correctly. It consists of a special radiation protective casing containing an electronic subsystem, built from low-cost industrial components. A positive outcome to this demonstration will lead to the availability of future low cost off-the-shelf components for microsatellites. To execute the EST experi-ment, the ESA astronaut pushes a button on the experiment set-up once a day throughout the mission. The pushbutton activation will cause the electronic log of date and time, and the equipment reset in case of failures. The activation process also initiates the automatic execution of hardware and software tests to verify that a component is functioning correctly.

LAZ: The LAZIO experiment (LAZ) is meant to take a measurement of the magnetic environment inside the ISS and its relationship with the particle flux variations due to solar and geophysical phenomena. The experiment had switched off unexpectedly after some hours of operations and the LAZIO research team on the ground analysed the failure to determine the correct recovery procedure to reactivate the experiment. Education

BOP: The launch and return containers for the BOP experiment were transfered to the Russian segment of the ISS and installed in the AQUARIUS-B incubator as planned, i.e. as soon as possible after docking. AQUARIUS-B had been previously activated by the Expedition 10 crew prior to the Soyuz docking, in order to ensure 37 degree C operational temperature achieved by the time of the BOP transfer. BOP stands for Bone Proteomics and is a student’s experiment which studies the molecular mechanisms that regulate the physiology of human osteoblasts (bone forming cells) under weightless conditions. The medium in the culture chambers of the experiment was changed by Roberto Vittori and photos and video were taken of the hardware.

Flight Day 4 (18 April 2005, GMT Day 108):

Biology AES: The experiment was activated as planned on Flight Day 4, with photos taken of the hardware and the completion of the associated log sheet. The “Agrospace Experiment Suite” experiment (AES) actually consists of two separate experiments: an education oriented experiment Space Beans for Students and a biology experiment Seedlings. Space Beans consists of beans being germinated on the ISS at the same time as being germinated by pupils in classrooms on Earth. The germination of seeds in space has been previously demonstrated, but the aim of the Space Beans experiment is to have a good involvement of pupils in the space mission and increase their knowledge of space, both in terms of what the space environment is and in what the potential applications of the space technology are. The germination started when Roberto Vittori opened a water container inside a transparent plastic bag. Every day, a digital photo of the germinating seeds will now be taken. This will occur at the same time every day to show the germination progress. The astronaut then fills in a simple data sheet, which answers different questions every day relating to seed condition, and root and leaf growth for every seed. The photos will be sent to Earth as soon as possible and published on a web site. Participating pupils will carry out exactly the same experiment on Earth at the same time as on the ISS, also taking photos and filling out log sheets.

The “Seedlings” experiment of the Agrospace Experiment Suite is also related to plant germination, but it looks at the practical aspects of food production in space.  Producing sprouts directly in the ISS may represent an interesting opportunity to offer high-quality fresh food to the astronauts. The objectives of the experiment are to evaluate the feasibility of producing vegetable sprouts in space for food purposes and to study the influence of weightlessness on germination, growth and the nutritional quality of sprouts. CRI: The egg collectors of the “Crickets in Space” experiment that were opened on Flight Day 3 were closed again on Flight Day 4 and the cricket containers filmed. The ESA astronaut counted the number of eggs produced, but decided to keep the number secret until his return to Earth.

Physiology MOP: The daily questionnaire for the “Motion Perception” experiment was completed as planned. NGF: The ESA astronaut reported that he had taken the first of the three daily saliva samples. Technology EST: Set up the previous day, the “Electronics Space Test” experiment (EST) was activated today and will run for the next five days.

HBM: The first session of the “Heart Beat Monitoring” experiment (HBM) was completed successfully. The experiment will test the development of intelligent clothing for astronauts, capable of monitoring their vital functions using both wireless and non-wireless devices to allow free movement in a closed orbiting environment without having to attach suction pads, sticking plaster or gel to the skin. LAZ: The cause of the power failure in the LAZIO experiment observed previously has not yet been isolated. A fuse appears to have blown. A radiogramme was transmitted from the ground to the ISS crew containing a trouble-shooting procedure.

Education ARS: Preparation and execution of the first ARISS event was performed very successfully, with Roberto answering via amateur radio questions from school children gathered in Civitavecchia, coming from the Gugliemo Marconi school and the Einaudi Mattei school in Palmanova. The event, which took place in the Gugliemo Marconi school, had the chance to host a honourable guest in the person of the radio pioneer Gugliemo Marconi’s own daughter. The Marconi school used the radio amateur call sign IK0WGF, while Roberto Vittorio, as mandatory, holder of a valid amateur radio license, used the call sign NA1SS (the official call sign of the ISS) operated by IZ6ERU (Vittori’s sign).

SpaceRef staff editor.