vendredi 1 décembre 2017

Weekly Recap From the Expedition Lead Scientist, week of November 20, 2017

ISS - Expedition 53 Mission patch.

Dec. 1, 2017

(Highlights: Week of November 20, 2017)

Last week aboard the International Space Station, astronauts had a side of science as they celebrated Thanksgiving with a fresh vegetable harvest. They also carried out investigations in the fields of health, physics, and technology.

NASA astronaut Joe Acaba performed the final harvest of the Veg-03 experiment run in the Veggie plant growth facility. While a portion of the crop was set aside for crew consumption, the remaining plants were swabbed and inserted – along with the plant pillows - into the Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI). The Veggie equipment was then cleaned and stowed. The session was the first of its kind because it contained a mixed crop of cabbage, lettuce and mizuna, rather than one single type of plant. Future long-duration space missions will require crewmembers to grow their own food, so understanding how plants respond to microgravity is an important step toward that goal. In addition to providing research samples, the Veg-03 investigation allowed the crew to enjoy fresh vegetables as they celebrated Thanksgiving this week.

Image above: The crew celebrated Thanksgiving dinner with a side of science. The final harvest of the latest crop grown in Veggie was served. Image Credit: NASA.

Five small satellites were successfully deployed from the NanoRack CubeSat Deployer. The E. coli AntiMicrobial Satellite (EcAMSAT) will investigate spaceflight effects on bacterial antibiotic resistance. The Arcsecond Space Telescope Enabling Research in Astrophysics (ASTERIA) is a six-unit (6U) CubeSat that will test new technologies for astronomical observation, such as the detection of planets outside our solar system (a.k.a., exoplanets). The Technical Education Satellite (TechEdSat) investigation employs a small CubeSat in order to evaluate, demonstrate and validate two new technologies. The first technology to be demonstrated is AAC Microtec’s plug-and-play electronics architecture, while the second demonstrates two different tracking and communication modules that utilize the Iridium and Orbcomm satellite phone networks. Dellingr/RBLE will measures the magnetic fluctuations and molecular changes in Earth’s upper atmosphere in order to determine baseline conditions and observe space weather impacts. OSIRIS-3U is an integrated CubeSat that conducts measurements of the Earth’s ionosphere, in coordination with a ground-based astronomy observatory.

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli and NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik both completed three days of the Myotendinous and Neuromuscular Adaptation to Long-term Spaceflight (Sarcolab-3) ankle protocol this week. The operator collected ultrasound images of the astronauts’ legs. In addition, Bresnik completed the first day of the knee protocol for Sarcolab-3. The data collected for Sarcolab-3 will be compared to pre and post flight measurements to assess the impact of hypothesized microgravity induced muscle loss. Sarcolab-3 investigates the adaptation and deterioration of the calf muscle where it joins the Achilles tendon, which links it to the heel and carries loads from the entire body. Muscle fiber samples are taken from crewmembers before and after flight, and analyzed for changes in structural and chemical properties. MRI and ultrasound tests and electrode stimulation are conducted to help assess muscle and tendon changes caused by microgravity exposure.

Image above: Astronauts Paolo Nespoli (top left), Joe Acaba (top right), Mark Vande Hei (bottom right), and Randy Bresnik removed equipment used in the initial testing phase of the BEAM before outfitting it to be used for extra stowage of tools and supplies. Image Credit: NASA.

Acaba injected particles into the test section for an imaging test on Tuesday as part of the Zero Boil-Off Tank investigation (ZBOT). Rocket fuel, spacecraft heating and cooling systems, and sensitive scientific instruments rely on very cold cryogenic fluids. Heat from the environment around cryogenic tanks can cause their pressures to rise, which requires dumping or “boiling off” fluid to release the excess pressure, or actively cooling the tanks in some way. ZBOT uses an experimental fluid to test active heat removal and forced jet mixing as alternative means for controlling tank pressure for volatile fluids.

Futurespace habitats for low-Earth orbit, the moon, Mars, or other destinations need to be lightweight and relatively simple to construct. The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) is an experimental expandable capsule that was installed on the space station last year, and has undergone regular testing of radiation protection and performance ever since. The BEAM has earned an extension of its time aboard the station, and astronauts reconfigured the module to enable extra stowage space for tools and supplies. The extra stowage capability will add more space for science elsewhere inside the orbiting laboratory.

International Space Station (ISS). Image Credit: NASA

Other investigations included: JAXA PCG, STaARS BioScience-5, CEO, Earth Imagery from ISS, Meteor, One Strange Rock Virtual Reality, ISS Ham, DreamXM, Biochemical Profile, Fine Motor Skills, Lighting Effects, Multi-Omics, Space Headaches, Advanced Nano Step, EML Batch 2.2, Two-Phase Flow, MED-2, MPT, Radi-N2, and TReK.

Related links:


Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI):

NanoRack CubeSat Deployer:

E. coli AntiMicrobial Satellite (EcAMSAT):

Arcsecond Space Telescope Enabling Research in Astrophysics (ASTERIA):

Technical Education Satellite (TechEdSat):




Zero Boil-Off Tank investigation (ZBOT):

Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM):


STaARS BioScience-5:


Earth Imagery from ISS:

One Strange Rock Virtual Reality:

ISS Ham:


Biochemical Profile:

Fine Motor Skills:

Lighting Effects:


Space Headaches:

Two-Phase Flow:



Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Erling Holm/John Love, Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 53 & 54.

Best regards,

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