ISS - Expedition 51 Mission patch.
June 2, 2017
(Highlights: Week of May 22, 2017) - An unscheduled spacewalk on the International Space Station to replace a failed piece of critical command and control hardware delayed some planned investigations. However, right after the spacewalk ended, crew members picked right back up on the science timeline.
One of the investigations was in human research, as crew members drew blood for the Cardiac and Vessel Structure and Function with Long-Duration Space Flight and Recovery (Vascular Echo) study. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) investigation examines the changes in blood vessels and the heart while crew members are in space, and follows their recovery after returning to Earth.
Image above: European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet works on the airlock in the Japanese Experiment Module, which is used to move investigations outside the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA.
As humans get older on Earth, arteries can stiffen, which causes an increase in blood pressure, elevating the risk of heart disease. Physicians have observed that crew members returning from the space station also have much stiffer arteries than before they went into space. The Vascular Echo investigation aims to give researchers a better understanding of the changes in the cardiovascular system, which may provide insight into potential countermeasures to maintain health in space and on Earth.
Ground teams commanded operations for the Combustion Integration Rack (CIR) on the space station in support of the Cool Flames Investigation. Some types of fuels initially burn very hot, then appear to go out — but they continue burning at a much lower temperature with no visible flames. These phenomena are called cool flames. Understanding cool flame combustion could help scientists develop new engines and fuels that are more efficient and less harmful to the environment. The Cool Flames Investigation provides new insight into this phenomenon, as well as new data on fire safety in space.
Image above: CubeSats that are part of the the QB50 constellation of CubeSats provided by countries from around the world are deployed from the NanoRacks CubeSat deployer. The constellation aims to study the upper reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere over a period of 1 to 2 years. Image Credit: NASA.
Crew members also collected samples for the Biochemical Profile (Biochem Profile) investigation. The astronauts study themselves to learn how the human body reacts to long-duration spaceflight. Biochem Profile tests bodily fluid samples obtained from astronauts before, during and after spaceflight. Specific proteins and chemicals in the samples are used as biomarkers, or indicators of health. Post-flight analysis yields a database of samples and test results, which scientists can use to study the effects of spaceflight on the body. Establishing a chemical profile of the body’s response to spaceflight will help scientists understand how different systems in the body interact in microgravity in different groups of people. Scientists can also test the effectiveness of possible countermeasures like exercise and nutrition and their effects on crew health during long-duration exploration missions.
Space to Ground Surprise Spacewalk!
Video above: NASA's Space to Ground is a weekly update on what is happening on the International Space Station. Video Credit: NASA.
An improved understanding of the biochemical effects of microgravity could help patients with limited mobility on Earth, such as those on bed rest. Understanding how various physiological systems respond and interact to changing gravity conditions could help physicians design different treatments or exercises for people with limited mobility.
Progress was made on other investigations, outreach activities, and facilities this week, including Cardio Ox, NanoRack CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD), Radi-N, Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ISS Ham Radio (ARISS)), Light Microscopy Module Biophysics, Fine Motor Skills, Passive Thermal Flight Experiment, OsteoOmics, Body Measures, Dose Tracker, and Marrow.
Vessel Structure and Function with Long-Duration Space Flight and Recovery (Vascular Echo): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1921.html
Combustion Integration Rack (CIR): https://spaceflightsystems.grc.nasa.gov/sopo/ihho/psrp/fcf/cir/
Cool Flames Investigation: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1947.html
Biochemical Profile (Biochem Profile): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1008.html
Cardio Ox: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/931.html
NanoRack CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1350.html
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ISS Ham Radio) (ARISS): http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/346.html
Light Microscopy Module Biophysics: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1970.html
Fine Motor Skills: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1767.html
Passive Thermal Flight Experiment: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2360.html
Body Measures: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1070.html
Dose Tracker: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1933.html
Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html
International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html
Images (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Kristine Rainey/Jorge Sotomayor, Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 51 & 52.
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