ISS Operations Update – October 20, 2015

Photo: NASA
Photo: NASA

OASIS – Sample Exchange [OASIS (Observation and Analysis of Smectic Islands in Space) will study the unique behavior of liquid crystals in microgravity with special focus on their overall motion and merging of crystal layers which is known as the formation of smectic islands. Studying liquid crystals in microgravity will provide new insights into two dimensional system physics of complex fluids. Findings may lead to understanding of well aligned, very high speed electro-optic devices that could find use in embedded ferroelectric liquid crystal micro-displays. The experiment assembly consists of a bubble chamber that is filled with medium, air jet injectors, ink injectors, LED lights and a camera assembly that monitors the activity inside the chamber. This setup will be used to study the various aspects of fluid crystal behavior in space – looking at overall fluid motion, diffusion, and the merging of crystal film layers.]

Sleep ISS-12, Sleep Log [The ISS-12 experiment monitors the ambient light exposure and crew member activity and collects data on the subjective evaluation of sleep and alertness. Ambient light and activity are monitored via a wrist-worn actiwatch that delivers actiwatch spectrums that are put through bio-mathematical models of sleep and light to predict circadian phase. Sleep logs will be kept by crew members as a subjective assessment of sleep quality and duration. It is hoped that this investigation can deliver requirements for lighting, sleep-shifting protocols and workloads for future space exploration missions.]

Plant Gravity Sensing [The experiment looks at gravity sensing in thale cress, a generic model used in many plant studies. As part of the experiment, the plant is cultivated in microgravity and artificial gravity using a centrifuge to determine changes on a cellular level that point to the mechanism of gravisensing with particular focus on calcium channel activation through the MCA-1 protein. An increase of calcium within the cytoplasm of plants is known to occur in response to stimuli such as phytohormones, temperature and touch the mechanism of which has been studied extensively on Earth. Whether a calcium increase also occurs as a result of gravistimulation remains to be seen as gravity is difficult to control for ground-based tests. The mechanisms of underlying biochemical reaction paths that lead to gravitropism are fully unknown. Recent studies point to a protein, MCA-1, and an actin cytoskeleton that are involved in the transport of calcium to create a directional response in the presence of gravity. The current hypothesis is that amyloplasts (starch containing particles) sediment in the direction of the gravity vector as a result of their high mass. This sedimentation causes tension stress in actin fibers thus activating the mechanosensitive calcium channels. Whether this system of channels and actin fibers also forms in microgravity is unknown.]

Ocular Health – Optical Coherence Tomography for measurement of retinal thickness, volume and nerve fiber layer [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.]

Pilot-T [This experiment puts crew members through complex tasks, such as piloting a space vehicle, at various stages of a long-duration mission to assess crew member performance reliability over long mission durations.]


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

NanoRacks Cubesat Deployer: Collection of documentation photos of secondary latch positions on the deployer that failed to release a pair of Flock satellites. Opening of Airlock Outer Hatch and slide table extension for installation of Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform with NRCSD followed by slide table retraction and outer hatch closure.

X2R14 Software Transition: The transition of ISS Multiplexer/Demultiplexers to the latest software version continues as expected with completion expected on Wednesday.
Urine Processing Assembly: UPA encountered an overnight fault during a processing cycle, providing an indication of a Fluids Control and Pump Assembly issue. Data reviews and forward plan development are in progress – FCPA spares are available on board.

Replacement of Temperature Sensor ТМ168-04 in Service Module

Soyuz Window Inspection & photo Survey

Other Activities:

EVA: Cooling Loop Scrubbing and water sampling on EMUs #3003 and #3010, Enhanced Caution and Warning System Practice & Cuff Checklist Review
About Gagarin from Space Educational Event