ISS Operations Update – November 2, 2015

Photo: NASA
Photo: NASA

Habitability Experiment Ops [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.]

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.]

Integrated Resistance and Aerobic Training Study (Sprint) [This study evaluates a high-intensity, low-volume exercise protocol to minimize the loss of muscle, bone and cardiovascular function but also minimizing the time spent with daily exercise. To asses the protocol, crew members conduct regular measurements of VO2max, heart rate (HR) response to submaximal exercise and ventilatory threshold. Monthly ultrasounds of the thigh and calf are used to evaluate spaceflight-induced changes in the muscle volume. Post-flight data on muscle and bone mass is compared to pre-flight measurements and to data from control subjects that use the regular exercise protocol.]

Cognition [Cognition, also known as Individualized Real-Time Neurocognitive Assessment Toolkit for Space Flight Fatigue uses a battery of tests to measure how spaceflight-related physical changes (microgravity, lack of sleep quality, diet) can affect the cognitive performance of humans during long-duration space flights. The experiment consists of ten brief computer-based tests that cover a range of cognitive functions and deliver immediate feedback on current and past results. A good neurocognitive function for effective performance during space missions makes an investigation of sleep and fatigue in space an absolute necessity. The testing operation consists of a sleep questionnaire and subjective evaluations at the beginning followed by the ten tests that focus on: sensor-motor ability, visual object learning and memory, attention and working memory, abstraction, spatial orientation, emotion recognition, abstract reasoning, complex scanning & visual tracking, risk decision making, and vigilant attention and psychomotor speed.]

Identification – Micro-Accelerometer Data Download [The Identification Payload records structural dynamics data inside the individual modules of the Russian Segment to provide structural data to improve spacecraft design.]

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.]

Sleep ISS-12 [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.]

Journals [Electronic journals will be kept by the crew members to allow psychologists to study behavioral issues that are associated with the isolation and confinement over long-duration space missions. Journals from 6-month ISS mission have amounted to a total of 1,100 written pages, but no data beyond those six months is available making this an interesting opportunity to study the impact of isolation in the confinements of ISS over a longer period.]

FLEX-2 – Ground-Control Experiment Run[FLEX-2 – FLame Extinguishment Experiment 2 – monitors the burning process of small fuel droplets to study the unique characteristics of fire in microgravity. The experiments looks at the rate and manner the fuel burns and the conditions that are necessary for soot to form. Also, the mechanisms of fuel evaporation before burning are studied to provide a better understanding of the burning process in space for improvements in liquid-fueled engines for application in space flight.]

Synthetic Muscle Photo Acquisition [“Synthetic Muscle: Resistance to Radiation” paves the way for the development of space-based robots with Synthetic Muscle to give them more human-like capabilities to fulfill a number of tasks in future space missions. The electroactive polymers in the Synthetic Muscle would have to be able to withstand the harsh radiation environment in space and maintain its ability to contract and expand like real human muscles.The Synthetic Muscle, developed by Ras Labs, consists of robust electroactive polymers that contract and expand. The material can withstand extreme temperatures from –271 to over 135°C making them ideally suited for application in the harsh thermal environments found in space. Initial testing also shows promising signs of the material’s behavior in extreme radiation when combined with coating and additives.]

Other Activities:

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