ISS Operations Update – April 19, 2016

Photo: NASA
Photo: NASA

Genes in Space – Experiment Experiment Initiation [Genes in Space is a student-developed experiment to test whether the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can be used to study DNA alterations aboard a spacecraft. Spaceflight is known to cause alterations to human DNA and lead to weakened immune responses in astronauts. Understanding whether DNA changes and immune system degradation are linked is a major objective in ongoing space research, but DNA technology that would enable monitoring of these changes is not fully tested in space.]

KPT-10 – Kulonovskiy Kristall Hardware Setup & Experiment Ops [The KPT-10 telescience study examines “dynamic and structural characteristics of the Coulomb systems formed by charged dispersed diamagnetic macroparticles in a magnetic field (trap), investigating the following processes onboard the ISS RS (Russian Segment): condensed dust media, Coulomb crystals, and formation of Coulomb liquids due to charged macroparticles,” the NASA experiment overview notes.]

Rodent Research 3 – Review and Preparation for Standalone Subcutaneous Injection session [Rodent Research 3, named after the sponsoring company Eli Lilly and Co., will conduct a close study of myostatin inhibition for the prevention of sekeletal muscle atrophy and weakness in mice during long-duration spaceflight. A rapid loss of bone and muscle mass is observed in astronauts during spaceflight, especially to the legs and spine at rates similar to atrophy in people with muscle-wasting deseases on Earth. The study makes use of mice as a model organism to examine the response to certain drugs preventing muscle or bone loss.]

NanoRacks Module-51 Experiment Check [antibiotic use to inhibit Staphylococcus aureus bacteria; the rate at which yeast decomposes organic matter; whether steroid-enhanced plants could grow better in space than on Earth; and whether an enzyme derived from fireflies can cause bioluminescence in microgravity]

Wet Lab RNA SmartCycler Experiment Session [The Wetlab RNA SmartCycler provides real-time quantitative gene expression analysis aboard ISS, enabling genomic studies in the unique space environment.]

NeuroMapping Experiment Ops  [Spaceflight Effects on Neurocognitive Performance: Extent, Longevity, and Neural Bases (NeuroMapping) examined whether long-duration exposure to microgravity causes changes in the brain, including brain structure and function, motor control, and multi-tasking, as well as measuring how long it takes for the brain and body to recover from those possible changes. The experiment uses  MI and FMRI scans before and after spaceflight and computer-based Mental Rotation Tests while on ISS.]

Dose Tracker [Dose Tracker uses logs kept by crew members on the frequency of medication intake before, during and after a mission also with regards to side effect qualities frequencies and severities. This data is needed to address theories of medication ineffectiveness during flight and unusual side effects experienced in the flight environment.]

Ocular Health – Tonometry Measurement [OH is a human physiology study. Its full name is Prospective Observational Study of Ocular Health in ISS Crews. “The Prospective Observational Study of Ocular Health in ISS Crews (Ocular Health) protocol aims to systematically gather physiological data to characterize the Risk of Microgravity-Induced Visual Impairment/Intracranial Pressure on crewmembers assigned to a 6 month ISS increment,” the NASA experiment overview said. It is known that some (not all) astronauts in orbit experience changes in visual acuity (visual clarity) and intraocular pressure as a result of fluid shifts within the body as it is subjected to microgravity. About 20% is astronauts flying to ISS have reported these kinds of changes. Test subjects will undergo pre-flight, flight and post-flight testing of their eyes using a variety of techniques.]

Fluid Shifts – Experiment Preparation [Fluid Shifts Before, During and After Prolonged Space Flight and Their Association with Intracranial Pressure and Visual Impairment. Known as the Fluids Shift study, this experiment is one of the most complex integrated experiments ever performed on ISS using pieces of US and Russian hardware to attempt to quantify the amount of fluid shifting from the lower body to the upper body when transitioning from a gravity to a microgravity environment. This will also lead to an understanding of effects of the fluid shift on fluid pressure in the head, changes to vision and eye structure. Effects on the eye caused by elevated intracranial pressure include globe flattening, choroidal folds, and alteration of the optic nerve.]

Habitability [Assessment of International Space Station Vehicle Habitability will see teams on the ground study video of the behavior of crew members within the habitable environment of ISS while the crew fills out questionnaires and collects video of areas of interest in order to provide an assessment of the habitability of ISS in its current state for a one-year mission. Results will be used to develop spacecraft with improved habitability properties to allow crew members to optimally utilize the onboard space.]

Systems & Maintenance:

Nominal Inspections/Servicing Tasks (Morning Inspection, Caution & Warning Panel Check, Sozh System Maintenance) (Russian Crew)

Cleaning of Zarya Gas-Liquid Heat Exchanger

Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) 3011 – Loop Scrub & Stowage for return on Dragon SpX-8

Robotics: Canadarm2 was walked off to the Mobile Base System for a translation to Work Site #2 and a series of surveys starting with the Crew and Equipment Translation Aid (CETA) Cart Clearance Survey near WS1 and a survey for Solar Alpha Rotary Joint to CETA clearance. This is done in preparation for the installation of a spare battery pack arriving later this year on the HTV-6 mission.

Progress MS-02 Cargo Operations