ISS Operations Update – January 12, 2016

Photo: NASA/Scott Kelly
Photo: NASA/Scott Kelly

Electrostatic Levitation Furnaces 1 and 2 (ELF 1 & 2) Setup [The Electrostatic Levitation Furnace will provide ISS with its second Materials Science facility operating on the basis of electrostatic levitation, alongside the Electromagnetic Levitator that is active aboard the Columbus laboratory, studying fundamental principles of metallurgy. Heating and melting samples of metal alloys or other materials in a zero-G environment followed by the solidification of the sample yields a very pure material without any contaminations. The study of the solidification process and the finished product can provide valuable knowledge concerning the properties of the material that could improve production techniques on Earth for better material properties in alloys, glass and ceramics.]

Fluid Shifts [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.]

Fine Motor Skills [Fine Motor Skills uses a tablet touchscreen application to monitor degradation in fine motor abilities over the course of an extended exposure to microgravity. A drop in fine motor skills can lead to problems when crew members are tasked with medical treatment, repairing sensitive equipment and interacting with touch-based equipment. Tests utilized by this study include multidirectional pointing, dragging, shape tracing, and object manipulation to create a knowledgebase that will allow scientists to evaluate the risk of fine motor performance decrements due to long-duration exposure to microgravity.]

VEG-01 Investigation – Plant Photos [VEGGIE or Veg-01 is a deployable plant growth unit to be set up on the Space Station to demonstrate the feasibility of a space garden. The experiment facility provides lighting and nutrient supply and is capable of supporting a variety of plant species that can be cultivated for educational outreach, fresh food and even recreation for crewmembers on long-duration missions. Thermal control is provided from ISS in-cabin systems and the carbon dioxide source is the ambient air aboard ISS.]

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.]

EXPOSE-R Data Transfer [The EXPOSE payload platform was developed by the European Space Agency to conduct astrobiology studies by exposing samples and experiments to the space environment – mounting the platforms on the exterior of ISS for an extended period of time before retrieving them for return to Earth. The effects of the space environment (increased UV exposure, cosmic radiation, microgravity, atomic oxygen, temperature variations) on organic matter and organisms have been heavily studied via space-based experiments and in ground-based laboratory simulations. These studies are performed to better understand the role of interstellar, cometary and planetary chemistry with respect to prebiotic molecules leading to the formation and evolution of life on Earth, also assessing the possibility of its distribution in space. EXPOSE experiments in the past exposed solid materials, gas mixtures, and biological samples to the space environment to simulate conditions on Mars and comets. The experiment module hosts four experiments – BIOMEX, BOSS, PSS and Biochip.]

Interactions Experiment [‘Vzaimodeistviye’ (Interactions) looks at psychological aspects of long duration space flight during which different cultures come together aboard a Spacecraft such as ISS and seeks to improve crew interactions aboard ISS and with teams on the ground.]


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

Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) Airlock Pressurization and Leak Check

Intermodule Ventilation (IMV) Flow Measurements

Collection of Service Module Air Samples

Service Module Ventilation System Preventive Maintenance

Other Activities:

EVA Tool Configuration: Familiarization with EVA Tools

Robotics: Survey of Scan Testbed Experiment and Mobile Transporter translation from Worksite 7 to WS-2 for camera support during EVA.

ISS Crew Handover Activities