Status Report

ISS Science Operations Status Report 2 Jan 2002

By SpaceRef Editor
January 2, 2002
Filed under , ,

Operations with two long-running experiments have resumed onboard the
International Space Station following a holiday break, and the station crew
has completed a labor-intensive cell science experiment.

Research with the Active Rack Isolation System ISS Characterization
Experiment (ARIS-ICE) and the Experiment on Physics of Colloids in Space
(EXPPCS) experiments resumed today (Jan. 2) following a Dec. 21 break for
the holidays. The Payload Operations Center at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight
Center in Huntsville, Ala., issued a series of commands that powered up
EXPRESS Rack 2, which provides both experiments with power, data, cooling,
and other utilities. Both experiments, which began on Expedition Two in
early 2001, are controlled remotely from the ground, supported by periodic
crew maintenance.

On Dec. 27, the crew completed all Expedition Four cell research using the
Cellular Biotechnology Operations Support System. Human blood, renal and
tonsillar cells grown during the 12-day experiment have been placed in cold
storage for later return to Earth for analysis.

One of the most crew-intensive experiments, the cell research required the
crew to inject cells into 32 containers of nutrient solution, place them in
an incubator and then periodically sample and replenish the nutrient
solution. Throughout operations, the crew stopped the growth of different
samples at various stages in development.

Cell research aboard the Station could contribute to the studies of cancer
and other diseases. In microgravity, cells can be cultivated into healthy,
three-dimensional tissues that retain the form and function of natural,
living tissue. On Earth, studying normal growth and replication of human
cell tissue outside living organisms is difficult, because most cells
cultivated outside the body form flat, thin specimens that limit insight
into the way cells work together.

The principal investigators for the Expedition Four experiments were Dr.
Timothy Hammond, Tulane University Medical Center, New Orleans; Dr. Arthur
J. Sytkowski, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Mass.; and Dr.
Joshua Zimmerberg, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.. The
experiment was managed by the Cellular Biotechnology Program at NASA’s
Johnson Space Center in Houston.

On Dec. 26, Flight Engineers Dan Bursch and Carl Walz filled out their Crew
Interactions surveys, and Commander Yury Onufrienko completed his survey on
Dec. 27. The computer-based experiment, which includes ground controllers as
well as Station crews, will identify and characterize important
interpersonal and cultural factors that may affect the performance of the
crew and ground support personnel during Space Station missions.

Also on Dec. 27, Bursch and Walz conducted computer based familiarization
training with the Pulmonary Function in Flight (PuFF) experiment, followed
on Dec. 28 by PuFF tests by both astronauts. PuFF focuses on lung function
inside the Space Station, as well as during spacewalks. Each PuFF session
includes five lung function tests to measure changes in the evenness of gas
exchange in the lungs, and on detecting changes in respiratory muscle

On Dec. 31, Walz and Bursch completed the third session of the Hoffman
Reflex experiment. This session was added to the Expedition Four program at
the principal investigator’s request, as a similar session was added to
Expedition Three. Dr. Doug Watt, from McGill University in Montreal, Canada,
realized from the results received during Expedition Two that this
additional session would better define the time course of changes of this
neurovestibular reflex. The experiment is designed to study spinal cord
excitability and whether exercise could be made more effective on long

Untended operations continue with a pair of protein crystal growth
experiments, a suitcase sized collection of materials samples attached to
the outside of the space station, and vibration measuring experiments in the
Destiny lab module.

The crew continues normal status checks and maintenance on science payloads
onboard. Their task list of optional items during the past week included
Earth science photography and documentary photography of experiments

Looking ahead, the crew on Thursday, Jan. 3, is scheduled to perform
background radiation readings on their Astronauts in EVA Radiation Study
radiation badges. The Zeolite Crystal Growth furnace unit was installed into
its location in EXPRESS Rack 2 on Dec. 29, with a checkout planned for Jan.
7. The Advanced Astroculture experiment is tentatively planned for
activation later this month or early February. The Earth Knowledge Acquired
by Middle school students (EarthKAM) photography program is expected to
resume in early February.

Editor’s Note: The Payload Operations Center at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight
Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages all science research experiment
operations aboard the International Space Station. The center is also home
for coordination of the mission-planning work of a variety of international
sources, all science payload deliveries and retrieval, and payload training
and payload safety programs for the Station crew and all ground personnel.

SpaceRef staff editor.