NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 23 September, 2021 – How Space Affects Skin Processes

The Expedition 65 astronauts are moving full speed ahead today studying how living in space affects skin processes.

The International Space Station is also gearing up for a busy period of spaceship activities.

Rodents continue to be observed aboard the orbiting lab today so scientists can identify genes and observe cell functions that are impacted by weightlessness and affect skin processes. The Rodent Research-1 Demonstration will take place until next week when the mice are transferred into the SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle for return and examination on Earth.

NASA Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough partnered with ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet for the space biology study today taking place inside the Kibo laboratory module. NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei is assisting the astronauts with the rodent research, helping them with operations in the Life Science Glovebox.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) spent Thursday morning exploring how weightlessness affects microbes living on the station. He extracted DNA earlier this week from microbe samples he swabbed from surfaces inside the station. Today, Hoshide prepared the DNA for onboard sequencing to help researchers understand the microbial environment of the station and future spacecraft.

In the Russian segment of the orbital lab, Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov are familiarizing themselves with the procedures for next week’s relocation of their Soyuz MS-18 crew ship. The duo, along with Vande Hei, will take a short ride in the Soyuz on Tuesday when they undock from the Rassvet module at 8:21 a.m. EDT.

They will temporarily maneuver toward the station’s U.S. segment where they will photograph the orbiting lab’s configuration. Shortly after that, they will move back toward the Russian segment and redock to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module module at around 9 a.m.

On-orbit Status Report


BioMole: A crewmember performed surface swab sampling of the ISS surfaces to identify bacteria by extraction of DNA using the miniPCR-16 unit. The Environmental Health System (EHS) Biomole Facility non-culture-based samples can provide microbial identification on-orbit within days of sampling. The goal of this Tech Demo is to conduct comparative analysis for possible replacement of current microbial monitoring systems.

Sally Ride Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle Schools (EarthKAM): A crewmember configured the EarthKAM D2Xs Camera with an 85mm EVA Lens. EarthKAM allows thousands of students to photograph and examine Earth from a space crew’s perspective. Using the Internet, the students control a special digital camera mounted on-board the ISS. This enables them to photograph the Earth’s coastlines, mountain ranges and other geographic items of interest from the unique vantage point of space. The EarthKAM team then posts these photographs on the Internet for viewing by the public and participating classrooms around the world.

Eklosion: A crewmember smelled the Eklosion experiment flower, read private messages, and took pictures as part of the Eklosion experiment objectives. The Eklosion investigation utilizes a vase, inspired by the VEGGIE plant growth facility, specially designed for use in the microgravity environment aboard the ISS. Eklosion contains within its hull small messages and smells from Earth for the psychological benefit of the crew member who conducts the investigation.

Industrial Crystals Facility (ICF): A crewmember took photos of the Single Crystal Growth Chamber and removed and stowed ICF from the EXPRESS Rack. ICF is a small chamber that allows crystals to grow over time into large crystals appropriate for use in science labs on Earth. When grown in the microgravity environment of the ISS, the crystals are of much higher quality than those currently grown on Earth.

Fiber-optic Active Dosimeter (Lumina): A crewmember transferred data from the LUMINA device and used the EveryWear App on an iPad to change the parameter settings. 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 the ones associated with electrons, protons, gamma-ray, X-ray, photons, or neutrons.

Rodent Research-Demonstration 1 (RR-D1): Crewmembers performed Rodent Research Experiment 3 operations. Rodent Research-Demonstration 1 (RR-D1) validates equipment and procedures for surgical techniques related to the wound healing process. Normal skin function and wound healing are important for maintaining good health, but spaceflight may impair healing of wounds in astronauts. Results from this investigation are intended to support design of a subsequent study on the effects of spaceflight on wound healing.

STaARS BioScience-12: A crewmember removed the Cryotube Kit and Experiment Container Shells from the STaARS-1 Experiment Facility and placed them into cold stowage. Novel Protein Aggregation/degradation Studies in the Unique ISS Environment Provide Mechanistic Insights Relevant to Biopharmaceutical Development and Degenerative Diseases (STaARS BioScience-12) examines protein folding and aggregation under the unique stresses of space, including microgravity- and cosmic radiation-dependent folding and degradation and the combination of these factors. Biopharmaceuticals play a significant role in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of human diseases, but a challenge in making them is the instability and degradation of their proteins. This investigation may help develop new strategies to prevent protein degradation and support design of therapeutic biopharmaceuticals.

Touching Surfaces: A crewmember performed the touch operations on five Touch Arrays in five different locations in the USOS segment. Previous space research conducted during short-term flight experiments and long-term environmental monitoring on board orbiting space stations (such as MIR or the ISS) suggests that the relationship between humans and microbes is altered in the crewed habitat in space. This interdisciplinary project Touching Surfaces aims to investigate novel, laser-structured antimicrobial surfaces onboard the ISS. The realistic testing of the tailor-made nanostructured antimicrobial surface in space allows for the determination of the most suitable design for antimicrobial surfaces for terrestrial applications such as public transportation and clinical settings, as well as future human space mission and habitation design.


Mobile Servicing System (MSS) Operations: Last night, Robotics Ground Controllers (ROBO) powered up the MSS cameras and maneuvered the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) for Materials on ISS Experiment (MISSE) operations. MISSE-FF is a permanent external platform on the ISS that is modular and robotically serviceable. Sample plates containing a variety of surface materials are exposed to the space environment outside the ISS for varying durations to inform satellite designers on how different materials degrade over time.

Cargo Dragon Cargo Operations: The crew performed cargo transfer operations for Cargo Dragon SpaceX-23 (SpX-23). SpX-23 undock is scheduled for September 30th to return cargo and payloads to the ground.

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Battery Operations Terminal Charge Terminate: Today, the crew terminated the auto-cycle / charge of EVA Li-Ion Batteries using the EVA Battery Operations Terminal (EBOT). This terminate comes after several days of post-EVA recharging following the successful USOS 4A IROSA Prep EVA on September 12th.

Completed Task List Activities:

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

Atmosphere Revitalization System (ARS) Thermal Amine Scrubber (TAS) Activation
Payload Rack Officer (PRO) Life Science Glovebox (LSG) Activation
PRO Combustion Integration Rack (CIR)
Countermeasures System (CMS) Treadmill 2 (T2) Ground Powercycle
Look Ahead Plan

Friday, September 24 (GMT 267)

BIOMOLE MinION hardware stow (NASA)
EarthKAM Node 2 Shutdown and stow (NASA)
Food Acceptability (NASA)
HRF1 PC1 Troubleshoot (NASA)
Microbial Tracking 3 Sample collect with video (NASA)
Mochii Hardware removal (NASA)
PILOTE VR Troubleshoot (ESA)
RR-D1 3B Biopsy (NASA)
Standard Measures Postsleep Questionnaire (NASA)
Thermal Amine Sampling (NASA)

ISS Deboost
Dragon cargo ops
Saturday, September 25 (GMT 268)

NanoRacks Module-9 Ops 4 (NASA)
Standard Measures Saliva setup (NASA)

Crew off-duty
Sunday, September 26 (GMT 269)

RR-D1 Crew Review (NASA)
Ring Shear Drop Sample Removal (NASA)
Standard Measures Saliva collect (NASA)

Crew off-duty
Today’s Planned Activities:
All activities are complete unless otherwise noted.

EarthKAM Node 2 85MM Lens Change
Node 2 Drag Through Video Setup
Rodent Research Experiment 3 Day A
Eklosion Message Retrieval
BioMole MELFI Retrieve
BioMole Part 3: DNA Prep and Sequencing
HRF PC 1 Light Status
Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Battery Operations Terminal Charge Terminate
Touching Event for the Touching Surfaces experiment
Microbial Tracking-3 Environmental Sample Collection
Cargo Transfer to Dragon
STaARS BioScience-12 Cryotube Kit and Experiment Container Removal
STaARS MELFI Cryotube Kit and Experiment Container Insertion
Public Affairs Office (PAO) Event in High Definition (HD) in Columbus
Microbial Tracking-3 Sample Iceberg Insert
Industrial Crystallization Facility (ICF) Hardware Stow
LUMINA data transfer and parameters changes with EveryWear
Node 2 Drag Through Video Tear Down
Standard Measures Pre-sleep Questionnaire

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