NASA Space Station Status Report December 6, 2022 – Life Science and Space Physics

NASA Space Station Status Report December 6, 2022 – Life Science and Space Physics

Astronaut Nicole Mann and Koichi Wakata at the robotics workstation. (Dec. 3, 2022)

NASA

Life science and space physics filled the research schedule on Tuesday for the four Expedition 68 astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The orbiting lab’s three cosmonauts spent the day servicing Orlan spacesuits while maintaining electronics and life support systems.

Following a day off on Monday, the space station’s four astronauts turned their attention to a multitude of space science activities. The dominant research themes on Tuesday were biology and fluid physics with scientists on the ground using the observations to improve life for humans living on and off the Earth.

NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio had his hands full on Tuesday with numerous scientific investigations requiring his attention. Rubio opened up the Fluids Integrated Rack in the morning to support the Flow Boiling and Condensation Experiment that may provide insights into improving thermal systems in microgravity. Afterwards, Rubio analyzed water samples collected from the station’s Water Processing Assembly. Next, he stowed research samples into a science freezer before attaching a protective cover on a specialized microscope that observes the fundamental nature of cellular and tissue structures. Finally, Rubio activated an experiment that is studying how weightlessness affects genetic expression in microbes to understand bacterial adaptation and protect astronauts.

Astronauts Josh Cassada of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency took turns nourishing biology samples for a study observing how bones heal in space. Cassada earlier filled water bags that will support the Plant Habitat on an upcoming botany experiment. Wakata began operations to conclude a series of student-designed experiments using NanoRacks commercial research hardware.

NASA Flight Engineer Nicole Mann spent Tuesday scrubbing cooling loops inside the Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs), or spacesuits, that Cassada and Rubio wore during a spacewalk on Dec. 3 to install a roll-out solar array. The next spacewalk planned for Cassada and Rubio is scheduled for Dec. 19 to install a second roll-out solar array on the station’s port-side truss structure.

Two cosmonauts continued replacing components inside a pair of Orlan spacesuits they will wear on a spacewalk planned before the end of the year. The next spacewalk for Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin will see the duo relocate a radiator from the Rassvet module to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. Flight Engineer Anna Kikina was back on lab maintenance on Tuesday installing a variety of electronics hardware, connecting cables and working on an oxygen generator.

On-Orbit Status Report

Payloads:

Biological Research In Canisters-26 (BRIC-26): BRIC-26 hardware was inserted into the BRIC-LED facility and activated to begin the experiment. Previous research shows that exposure to microgravity affects microbial characteristics such as virulence and environmental resistance, but the molecular mechanisms underlying these changes are unclear. BRIC-26 measures the effect of exposure to microgravity on three fundamental genetic processes and their interactions in the bacteria Bacillus subtilis. Results could provide insight into how the interaction of DNA and environment affects gene expression and, ultimately, the observable characteristics in an organism.

Fluids Integrated Rack/Flow Boiling and Condensation Experiment (FIR/FBCE): The crew gained access to the FIR rack, and then refilled the test fluid reservoir with n-perfluorohexane (n-PFH). FBCE seeks to validate a model for flow boiling critical heat flux (CHF) and develop an integrated two-phase flow boiling and condensation facility for the ISS. Data from microgravity and the ground are compared to determine the influence of various forces and processes needed for gravity-independent flow boiling and condensation. Results could support the development of boilers and heat exchangers that work in both microgravity and partial gravity.

Lumina: The Lumina experiment hardware was power cycled to prepare it to handle large file transfers, and a data transfer was initiated. The Fiber-optic Active Dosimeter (Lumina) is an active fiber dosimeter that monitors, in real-time, the received radiation dose by exploiting the capacity of optical fibers to darken when exposed to radiation. The dosimeter provides reliable dose measurements in complex environments such as those associated with electrons, protons, gamma-rays, X-rays, photons or neutrons.

NanoRacks Module-51: The final operations were performed for the remaining experiments in the NG-18 NanoRacks Module-51, and the SD Card was prepared for return. The original experiments in Module-51 included plant growth, Haloarchea growth, and worm composting. NanoRacks Modules allow experimenters and students to perform extended on-orbit operations using space-proven hardware. Each individual module houses a unique experiment or set of experiments. Anything approved for transport to ISS can be incorporated into a module, representing any field of science.

Space Technology and Advanced Research Systems BioScience-15 (STaARS BS-15): The crew retrieved the six STaARS BS-15 sample plates from frozen storage, allowed them to thaw, and then placed them in an ambient temperature location to begin the experiment. The Impact of the Aequor Biofilm in Prevention of Harmful Contamination of Water from Associated Microbial Growth in Microgravity (STaARS BioScience-15) evaluates a new treatment for eliminating biofilms that is safe for crew members and equipment on the ISS. Biofilms or surface-associated bacterial communities represent a challenge on the space station. Previous research has shown that spaceflight can increase the formation of biofilms and change their structure. A better understanding of these microbial communities in space is crucial for the success of future missions.

Systems:

Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Cooling Loop Scrub: The crew initiated the ionic and particulate filtering of EMU 3004, EMU 3013, and Airlock cooling water loops. Once complete, the crew re-configured EMU 3004 and EMU 3013 for iodination. EMU loop scrubs are required preventive maintenance needed to remove any chemical and biological contaminants from the EMU transport loop.

Cargo Transfer Dragon Cargo Operations: Today, the crew continued transferring scientific experiments and hardware from the SpX-26 cargo vehicle to the ISS. SpX-26 is scheduled to remain at the ISS until January 11th before it undocks to return cargo and payloads to the ground.

EDV Drain to Resupply Tank (RST) using Urine Transfer System (UTS): The crew set up the drain of a Brine EDV to a RST using the Brine Transfer Hose. The crew then swapped EDVs and performed another drain to the RST. Following that task, the crew set up drain of the installed Recycle Tank via the Urine Processor Assembly (UPA) Fill Drain Valve into a RST using UTS. Finally the crew repositioned the fill/drain valve to fill, swapped the Offload EDV, and configured the UPA Fill Drain Valve for UPA processing.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

  • CCS S-band TLM HK1 Preempt
  • EMU Data Recorder Operations
  • WIS Operations – RFID Off
  • NASCOM Preventive Maintenance
  • LSR Valve Check

Look Ahead Plan

Wednesday, December 7 (GMT 341)
Payloads:

  • BCM Robot Test
  • Biolab Reference EC Install
  • BRIC-26 Cannister Retrieval and Insertion into CS
  • CIR/SoFIE Solenoid Valve Replacement
  • HRF Urine and Blood Setup
  • NanoRacks Mainframe A Module Install
  • Particle Vibration Mix
  • Plant Habitat QD Repair H/W Gather
  • SIS Biolab EC Uninstall and Biolab Reference EC Install

Systems:

  • ECLSS PEPS Inspection
  • EVA EMU FPS R&R Tool Gather and Study
  • SpX Crew Dragon Emergency Departure Review
  • VTE Scan

Thursday, December 8 (GMT 342)
Payloads:

  • CIR Hardware Return
  • FSL SMD SCU Exchange
  • HRF Blood and Urine Collect
  • HRF/CIPHER/Falcon Goggle Checkout
  • ISS HAM Pass
  • JWRS Component Installation
  • MSG Activation
  • NanoRacks Deployer Disassembly
  • Sphere Camera-1 Gather and Assembly

Systems:

  • EVA EMU Radio and FPS R&R
  • Transfer Crew Dragon Cargo Operations

Friday, December 9 (GMT 343)
Payloads:

  • ELF Sample Cartridge Exchange
  • HRF Urine and Blood Collect
  • J-SSOD-23 Hardware Removal From Slide Table
  • NG-18 NanoRacks Module-51 Conclude
  • PFMI-ASCENT Sample Change
  • Plant Habitat QD Replacement
  • STaARS BS-15 Group 1 Insert into MELFI
  • Veg-05 Experiment Install
  • Zero-T2

Systems:

  • EVA FPS Tool Stow
  • SpX Crew Dragon Deorbit Entry/Landing Contingencies Review
  • IFM WHC UR IF R&R

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

  • EDV Drain RST Using UTS Operations
  • EMU Cooling Loop Maintenance Scrub Initiation and Iodination
  • Plant Habitat Hardware Locate
  • PLT 4 and PLT 5 Relocation
  • Plant Habitat H2O Retrieve
  • Payload Laptop Terminal 3 (PLT3) Cable Connect
  • JAXA Media Taking Part 3
  • Flow Boiling and Condensation Experiment Fluid Refill
  • Fluids Integrated Rack Rack Doors Close and Open
  • Health Maintenance System (HMS) ISS Medical Accessories Kit (IMAK) Unpack from SpX-26
  • STaARS Cryotube MELFI Retrieval Kit
  • STaARS BioScience-15 Microplate Transfers
  • Environmental Health System (EHS) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Water Recovery System (WRS) Sample Analysis
  • Powered Ascent Utility Locker Cube Replace
  • Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) Recycle Tank Drain and Fill
  • LUMINA Device Power Reboot
  • EVA Prebreathe Mask Pressurized Test
  • Regen Hydrogen Sensor Tech Demo Drift Check
  • Powered Ascent Utility Locker Iceberg Sample Insert
  • XF705 Camcorder Setup
  • Confocal Space Microscopy (Microscope) Cover Set
  • LUMINA data transfer with EveryWear
  • Biological Research In Canisters (BRIC) Transfer to BRIC-LED Facility
  • BRIC Actuation
  • EVA EMU Cooling Loop Scrub Deconfiguration
  • HRF Facility Rack Drawer Handle Replacement
  • EMU Swap
  • Nanoracks Maintenance Work Area Preparation
  • Nanoracks Module-51 Experiment Conclusion
  • EHS TOCA Sample Data Record
  • Cargo Transfer Dragon Cargo Operations
  • Metal Oxide (METOX) Regeneration Termination
  • UTS Offload EDV Swap
  • Combustion Integrated Rack Hardware Gather
  • SpX-CREW DRAGON Free Flight Contingencies and Emergencies Refresher