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ESA ISS Science & System - Operations Status Report # 166 Increment 39: 29 March – 11 April 2014

02/05/2014 721 views 1 likes
ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Columbus

This is ISS status report #166 from the European Space Agency outlining ESA’s science-related activities that have taken place on the ISS during the past two weeks for different European experiments and experiment facilities.

The report is compiled by ESA’s ISS Utilisation and Astronaut Support Department in cooperation with ESA’s Columbus Operations teams from the ISS Programme and Exploration Department.

ISS Utilisation Programme
The principal focus of the European utilisation of the ISS is the Columbus laboratory, which was launched and permanently attached to the ISS in February 2008. In addition to the science taking place using the internal and external experiment facilities of the Columbus laboratory, ESA also has some further on-going research taking place inside the US Destiny laboratory and the Russian ISS Segment within international scientific collaboration agreements.

The current status of the European science package on the ISS is as follows:

Human Research
Space Headaches Experiment
In the two weeks until 11 April three different astronauts have taken part in the Space Headaches experiment. Weekly questionnaires were filled in by ISS Commander Koichi Wakata and ISS Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio (their 21st and 22nd). The weekly questionnaires follow on from one week of filling in daily questionnaires during the first week after launch on Soyuz 37S. ISS Flight Engineer Steve Swanson became the latest subject of the experiment following his launch on Soyuz 38S. With a delayed rendezvous and docking profile in force for 38S (two days instead of six hours after launch) Swanson retroactively completed his 1st, 2nd, and 3rd daily questionnaires on 29 March along with his 4th daily questionnaire after arriving at the ISS. He continued over the following days until filling in his 7th and final daily questionnaire on 1 April. Swanson completed his first two weekly questionnaires for the experiment on 5 and 10 April.

The Space Headaches experiment is determining the incidence and characteristics of headaches occurring within astronauts in orbit. Headaches can be a common astronaut complaint during space flights. This can negatively affect mental and physical capacities of astronauts/cosmonauts which can influence performance during a space mission.

Circadian Rhythms Experiment
ISS Commander Koichi Wakata successfully carried out his fifth session (session 6 as sessions 1 and 2 were combined into one session in December) of the Circadian Rhythms experiment from 5-7 April. At the start of the session Wakata donned the Thermolab temperature sensors, on the forehead and chest, and the Thermolab unit along with an activity monitoring armband. Hereafter measurements were taken for 36 hours.

The main objective of the experiment is to get a better basic understanding of any alterations in circadian rhythms in humans during long-duration spaceflight. This will provide insights into the adaptation of the human autonomic nervous system in space over time, and will help to improve physical exercise, rest and work shifts, as well as fostering adequate workplace illumination in the sense of occupational healthcare in future space missions.

Skin-B Experiment
ISS Flight Engineer Steve Swanson undertook his first session of ESA’s Skin-B experiment on 8 April. The session consisted of three different non-invasive measurements taken on the inside part of the forearm. This included skin moisture measurement with a corneometer; trans epidermal water loss measurement to determine barrier function of the skin with a tewameter; and surface evaluation of the living skin with a UVA-light camera (visioscan). All data was downlinked after the session.

The Skin-B experiment will help to develop a mathematical model of aging skin and improve understanding of skin-aging mechanisms, which are accelerated in weightlessness. It will also provide a model for the adaptive processes for other tissues in the body.

ISS Partner Research in Columbus
ISS Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio acted as crew medical officer in taking blood samples from ISS Flight Engineer  Steve Swanson for NASA’s Salivary Markers experiment on 31 March. Human Research Facility 2 in Columbus was used for centrifuging the blood samples before they were placed into one of the MELFI freezer units for conditioned storage. Over the following days Swanson continued collecting saliva samples and additional urine samples which were also stored in the MELFI freezer units. This research study will help identify if there are any risks of an adverse health event in crewmembers due to an impaired immune system.

Swanson also provided blood on 7 April for NASA’s Biochemical Profile/Repository protocol. This was again centrifuged in Human Research Facility 2 before being placed into one of the MELFI freezer units along with associated urine samples. This protocol analyses specific proteins and chemicals in the samples for use as biomarkers, or indicators of health, which scientists can use to study the effects of spaceflight on the body.

NASA’s Human Research Facility 1 (HRF-1) in Columbus was used on 7 April for thigh and calf ultrasounds for ISS Commander Koichi Wakata and ISS Flight Engineer Steve Swanson for NASA’s Sprint protocol which is evaluating the use of high intensity, low volume exercise training to minimize loss of muscle, bone, and cardiovascular function in ISS crewmembers during long-duration missions.

The equipment was additionally used on 9 April for undertaking ultrasound scans by Steve Swanson in connection with NASA’s Ocular Health protocol. This session included an ultrasound eye scan and a cardiac ultrasound with blood pressure. This followed up activities with the experiment subject undergoing visual tests, a tonometry eye exam which measures intraocular eye pressure, and a fundoscope eye exam as well as providing blood pressure and vital sign data. The Ocular Health protocol is gathering physiological data in order to characterise the risk of microgravity-induced visual impairment/intracranial pressure on crewmembers assigned to long-duration ISS missions.


Biology Research
GRAVI-2 Experiment and European Biology Facilities in Columbus
The Gravi-2 experiment is due for launch to the ISS in mid-April on the SpaceX-3 Dragon logistics spacecraft. The GRAVI-2 experiment will be executed in the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS) and will make additional use of the thermal storage capabilities of the Biolab facility. The GRAVI-2 experiment continues the research undertaken within the GRAVI-1 experiment in determining the threshold of perception of gravity by lentil roots.


Radiation Research
DOSIS-3D Experiment
Data acquisition has been on-going for the Dose Distribution inside the ISS 3D (DOSIS-3D) experiment using the two active detectors and the set of passive detectors which were deployed at various locations around the Columbus laboratory on 28 March.  The active detectors for DOSIS-3D undertake time-dependent cosmic radiation measurements for the experiment, while the passive detectors are used in order to undertake 'area dosimetry' i.e. to measure the spatial radiation gradients inside the Columbus module.

The aim of the DOSIS-3D experiment is to determine the nature and distribution of the radiation field inside the ISS and follows on from the DOSIS experiment previously undertaken in the Columbus laboratory. Comparison of the dose rates for the DOSIS-3D and the earlier DOSIS experiments shows a difference in dose level which can be explained due to the different altitude of the Station during the measurements. The DOSIS-3D experiment will build on the data gathered from the DOSIS experiment by combing data gathered in Columbus with ISS International Partner data gathered in other modules of the ISS.


Solar Research
SOLAR Facility
The next Sun visibility window (the 76th) for the Solar facility to acquire data with its two active instruments (SOLSPEC and SolACES) will open on 16 April 2014 after the most recent window closed on 25 March. Sun visibility windows for SOLAR, which is located on the external platform of Columbus, are open for the facility to acquire scientific data when the ISS is in the correct orbital profile with relation to the Sun.

During the two weeks until 11 April the SolACES instrument was placed in a heated configuration (during which no science acquisition is possible) as a work-around to protect the instrument’s optics from degradation

The SOLAR payload facility has been studying the Sun’s irradiation with unprecedented accuracy across most of its spectral range since 2008. This has so far produced excellent scientific data during a series of Sun observation cycles. An extension to the payload’s time in orbit could see its research activities extend up to early 2017 to monitor the whole solar cycle with unprecedented accuracy.


Fluids Research
FASES Experiment in the Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL)
Following numerous successful experiment runs, research is temporarily on hold for the Fundamental and Applied Studies of Emulsion Stability (FASES) experiment while a troubleshooting programme is being implemented to resolve a couple of constraining technical issues. On 31 March ISS Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio performed the continuity verification on the power cable between FSL and the FASES experiment container as part of troubleshooting the lack of power to one of the branches of the FASES Peltier elements for thermal conditioning of the experiment cells. While this test results are under review on by the engineering experts, ground teams have been formulating a troubleshooting plan for High Rate Data Link problem associated with the FSL Video Management Unit in order to resume FASES science runs. On 11 April a test was executed which consisted of verifying the performances of the data downlink in various configurations and from various FSL data sources (including the FSL Microgravity Measurement Apparatus and FASES).

The FASES experiment, installed inside the Fluid Science Laboratory, investigates the effect of surface tension on the stability of emulsions. Thin emulsions of different compositions are stored inside 44 individual sample cells through which the emulsions are being optically and thermally characterised. The overall experiment duration is estimated with a minimum of 9 months. Results of the FASES experiment hold significance for oil extraction processes, and the chemical and food industries.

FASTER Experiment in the European Drawer Rack (EDR)
ISS Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio installed a sensor of the Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) onto the European Drawer Rack on 2 April. This is in advance of the launch of ESA’s FASTER payload to the ISS on the SpaceX-3 Dragon spacecraft in mid-April and its subsequent integration into the European Drawer Rack (EDR). SAMS measures vibrations and transient acceleration disturbances resulting from ISS vehicle activities, systems operations, experiment operations, crew movements, and ISS structure thermal expansion and contraction.

The Facility for Adsorption and Surface Tension (FASTER) experiment is a Capillarity Pressure Tensiometer developed for the study of the links between emulsion stability and characteristics of droplet interfaces. This research has applications in industrial domains and is linked to investigations such as foam stability/drainage/rheology.


Materials Research
Materials Science Laboratory (MSL) and Batch 2a experiments
A MICAST-2 sample is currently located in the Materials Science Laboratory (MSL) awaiting future processing. MICAST-2 forms part of the Batch 2a solidification experiments which also includes the CETSOL-2 and SETA-2 experiments.

ESA’s Material Science Laboratory is the primary research facility located in NASA’s Materials Science Research Rack-1 in the US Laboratory and jointly operated under a bilateral cooperation agreement. CETSOL (Columnar-to-Equiaxed Transition in Solidification Processing) and MICAST (Microstructure Formation in Casting of Technical Alloys under Diffusive and Magnetically Controlled Convective Conditions) are two complementary material science projects. The goal of MICAST is to study the formation of microstructures during casting of technical alloys. In space, buoyancy convection is eliminated and the dendritic solidification of the alloys can be quantitatively studied under purely diffusive conditions. The objective of CETSOL is then to study the transition from columnar growth to equiaxed growth that occurs when crystals start to nucleate in the melt and grow independently. The SETA (Solidification along a Eutectic path in Ternary Alloys) experiment is looking into a specific type of eutectic growth in alloys of aluminium manganese and silicon. Results of all these experiments will help to optimise industrial casting processes.


Technology Research
Vessel Identification System (Vessel ID)
Successful data acquisition is on-going for the Vessel Identification System (commonly known as the Automatic Identification System, AIS), using its Norwegian receiver, and telemetry is still being successfully received by the Norwegian User Support and Operation Centre (N-USOC) in Trondheim via ESA’s Columbus Control Centre in Germany.

The Vessel Identification System has acquired an extensive amount of data for almost four years since its installation in Columbus. The Vessel Identification System is testing the means to track global maritime traffic from space by picking up signals from standard AIS transponders carried by all international ships over 300 tonnes, cargo vessels over 500 tonnes and all types of passenger carriers. Meanwhile various service entities have been asking to get access to the Vessel ID data which is continuously acquired on Columbus.


HAM Video
On 6 April ISS Commander Koichi Wakata performed a short activity to adjust the frequency settings of the Ham Video instrument following its installation in the Columbus laboratory on 6 March. ISS HAM Video will produce valuable imagery for use in education and promotion activities. Footage will help to stimulate the public interest in the International Space Station in general, and more specifically generate an interest in children through providing a means to promote an interest in scientific research topics.


ISS general system information and activities *
Columbus Laboratory and Columbus Control Centre
In addition to the Columbus experiment facilities mentioned above, the Columbus systems have been working well. Some regular maintenance activities have been executed by the crew and the Flight Control Team on top of the regular conferences of the ISS Crew with the Columbus Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. Highlights of the two weeks until 11 April 2014 include:

  • US Segment Audio System Troubleshooting
    Four ground tests were undertaken to troubleshoot errors that still occurred on fibre optic bus B following the replacement of Audio Terminal Unit 2 in Columbus on 21 March. The data gathered during the tests is being assessed and a forward plan is being defined. In the meantime Audio Terminal Unit 2 is considered healthy and working nominally on bus A.
  • Columbus CO2 sensor
    The prime CO2 sensor in the Columbus laboratory returned to its nominal value on 29 March (following a failure on 28 March) without any action from ground during performance of an on-orbit cleaning activity. However even though the sensor is displaying a normal reading it remained disabled from monitoring until 9 April when monitoring was again enabled. There was no impact to operations in the laboratory since the back-up sensor was working normally.
  • New High Definition Encoder
    A new PS-120 Junction Box, DC-to-AC converter, and 16-port ethernet switch were deployed in Columbus by ISS Flight Engineer and NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio on 7 April. The following day ISS Commander and JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata successfully installed an HD Encoder and camcorder which will allow the downlink of high definition videos from Columbus.
  • Portable Emergency Provisions Inspection
    A station-wide Portable Emergency Provisions inspection was undertaken by ISS Flight Engineer and NASA astronaut Steve Swanson on 10 April including in Columbus. The inspection included: Portable Fire Extinguishers, Portable Breathing Apparatus, and Extension Hose Tee Kits.
  • Air Quality Monitor Installation
    An Air Quality Monitor was installed in front of the Biolab facility in Columbus by ISS Commander Koichi Wakata on 10 April. Sampling of the Columbus air was started remotely hereafter.
  • Weekly and Periodic Activities
    In addition to the above activities some standard weekly activities have taken place in Columbus including cycling of Interface Heat Exchanger Water On/Off Valves, Water Pump Assembly checkouts, and smoke detector tests.


Activities in the European-built Node 3

  • Regenerative ECLSS and Additional Environmental Control Racks
    The two Water Recovery System racks, together with the Oxygen Generation System rack, form the Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) which is necessary in support of a six-person ISS crew to help reduce upload mass. Other environmental control racks in Node 3 include an Atmosphere Revitalisation Rack and a Waste and Hygiene Compartment. Highlights of the two weeks until 11 April 2014 include:
    • Waste and Hygiene Compartment/Urine Processor Assembly
      ISS Commander Koichi Wakata and ISS Flight Engineer Steve Swanson swapped out the Advanced Recycle Filter Tank Assembly in the Urine Processing Assembly (of the Water Recovery System Racks) on 1 April. A series of activities was then undertaken by Swanson to shock the installed filter tank assembly using a diluted pre-treat solution to kill any microbial contamination which could cause gas problems in the Urine Processor Assembly. Following the activity the filter tanks were swapped back to their original configuration.
      The following day Swanson replaced the pump separator of the Waste and Hygiene Compartment which seems to have resolved a problem of excessive noise that was occurring since January.
    • Atmosphere Revitalisation Rack: Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly
      Three days of maintenance activities were performed on the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly in Node 3 from 8-10 April. The crew removed the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly hardware from the Atmosphere Revitalisation Rack and then removed a Desiccant/Adsorbent Bed from which a large amount of adsorbent dust has been removed, as expected. Following the cleaning and the replacement of the filter, a successful leak check was performed. The Desiccant/Adsorbent Bed was then reinstalled in the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly which was reinstalled inside the Atmosphere Revitalisation Rack. A fine leak test and a 24-hour run were performed which confirmed normal performance. An Air Selector Valve in the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly was also replaced and the ducts were inspected for blockage in support of the on-going investigation to isolate the source of water passing from the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly into the Sabatier Reactor. The crew reported no blockage in the ducting.


Progress M-21M/53P Spacecraft: Debris Avoidance Manouevres
On 3 April a Pre-Determined Debris Avoidance Manoeuvre was carried out by the ISS using the thrusters of Progress 53P (docked to the aft docking port of the Russian Zvezda Service Module) to provide a healthy margin of clearance from the projected path of a spent payload deployment mechanism from an Ariane 5 launcher. The manoeuvre lasted 3 min 40 sec and increased the orbital altitude of the ISS by about 800 m. The deployment mechanism was forecast to pass within 300m of the station had no action  been taken.

Progress M-22M/54P Undocking Activities

  • Progress M-22M/54P Initial Undocking Preparations
    During the two weeks until 11 April excess hardware and equipment and Station garbage was loaded into Progress 54P for disposal by ISS Flight Engineer and Roscosmos cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin. In addition Tyurin and ISS Flight Engineer and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvorstov carried out an ISS to Progress test with the TORU manual docking system on 1 April. The TORU system allows ISS crew control of the Progress spacecraft from the Russian Service Module should the automatic KURS systems on Progress fail. On 3 April a ground-commanded purge of the propellant line of Progress 54P was performed. It was the first time this activity was undertaken with the ISS under US Control Moment Gyroscope attitude control and not Russian (thruster) attitude control which has propellant/cost-saving impacts. A video downlink test was performed by Skvortsov and fellow ISS Flight Engineer and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev the same day.
  • Progress M-22M/54P Final Undocking Preparations
    Prior to its scheduled departure the Russian crew members prepared the Progress 54P spacecraft for departure. The Progress docking mechanism was installed; Progress electronics were activated; ventilation ducting was removed; quick disconnect clamps which stabilize the connection between Progress 54P and the docking port of the Pirs Docking Compartment were removed; and the Progress/Pirs hatches were closed, followed by the standard one-hour leak check of the interhatch area and the interface between the fuel/oxidizer transfer line. The ISS was also rotated 180 deg from front to back on 6 April to support undocking of Progress 54P and launch/rendezvous/docking of Progress 55P.
  • Progress M-22M/54P Undocking
    On 7 April Progress M-22M/54P successfully undocked from the Pirs Docking Compartment at 15:58 (CEST) and backed away to a safe distance from the ISS. It will undertake several days of engineering testing (13-18 April) before finally deorbiting over the Pacific Ocean. The undocking cleared the docking port for launch and docking of Progress 55P.


Progress M-23M/55P Launch

  • Launch and Docking
    The Russian Progress M-23M spacecraft on logistics flight 55P to the ISS was launched successfully from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on a Soyuz-U rocket on 9 April at 17:26 CEST (21:26 local time) with cargo consisting of propellants, oxygen and air, and water and more than 1300 kg dry cargo. The Russian Progress 55P spacecraft docked with the Station at the Pirs Docking Compartment at 23:14 (CEST) on 9 April under automatic Kurs system control. Progress 55P undertook a four-orbits-to-docking manoeuvre following launch, with the journey lasting under six hours. After docking ISS attitude control was returned first to Russian systems and then to US systems.
  • Post-Docking Activities
    The standard leak check on the interhatch area and the fuel/oxidizer transfer line interface between Progress 55P and the Pirs Docking Compartment was performed followed by hatch opening (by ISS Flight Engineers and Roscosmos cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev) on 10 April. Hereafter the quick disconnect clamps were installed to stabilise the connection between Progress and the Station, Progress 55P was deactivated and ventilation ducting was installed. The Progress docking mechanism was dismantled and air sampling was carried out in the new logistics spacecraft. Hereafter, cargo transfer procedures from Progress to the ISS started.


SpaceX-3 Dragon Launch/Rendezvous Preparations
Preparatory activities have been performed in advance of the launch of the SpaceX-3 Dragon spacecraft in mid-April from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Florida, USA,  and its subsequent arrival at the ISS. On 7 April ISS Commander Koichi Wakata and ISS Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio performed robotics training to practice free drift timing/malfunction/nominal rate approaches. Mastracchio also powered up and performed a successful checkout of the CUCU Command Panel.  Three days later ISS Flight Engineer Steve Swanson installed the Centreline Berthing Camera System which will be used to assist in berthing the Dragon spacecraft to the ISS Node 2, and checked out all related avionics of the berthing system.

Meanwhile a backup external Multiplexer/Demultiplexer computer on the International Space Station is currently not responding to commands. The primary unit is functioning normally and there is no immediate impact to space station operations. ISS teams are assessing steps to bring the computer back online or replace it. Replacing the backup computer, if needed, would require a spacewalk. The backup Multiplexer/Demultiplexer provides redundancy for robotic systems that will be needed to attach the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft in April.

Orbital Sciences Cygnus Spacecraft Launch/Rendezvous Preparations
Preparatory activities have been performed in advance of the launch of Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus spacecraft on 6 May on the Orb-2 resupply mission to the ISS. Koichi Wakata and Rick Mastracchio gathered items for disposal aboard the Cygnus cargo spacecraft from 31 March – 1 April.

Microgravity Science Glovebox
Following completion of activities for the Burning and Suppression of Solids (BASS)-II experiment on 1 April to repair an experiment container door leak (damaged during an experiment run on 20 February), experiment runs resumed on 10 April with four different fabric samples ignited at  different flow rates and different reduced O2 levels. The BASS-II investigation examines the burning and extinction characteristics of a wide variety of fuel samples in weightlessness. This will guide strategies for materials flammability screening for use in spacecraft as well as provide valuable data on solid fuel burning behaviour in weightlessness.

Research activities for the BASS-II experiment take place inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox. The Microgravity Science Glovebox was developed by ESA within a barter agreement with NASA. and provides the ability to perform a wide range of experiments in the fields of material science, biotechnology, fluid science, combustion science and crystal growth research, in a fully sealed and controlled environment.

Minus-Eighty degree Laboratory Freezer for the ISS (MELFI)
There are three European-built MELFI freezers on the ISS: MELFI-1 and MELFI-2 in the Japanese laboratory and MELFI-3 in the US laboratory. In the two-week reporting period, samples were installed inside the MELFI units for: NASA’s Salivary Markers immunology experiment (blood, urine, saliva), and NASA’s combined Biochemical Profile/Repository protocol (blood, urine) for ISS Flight Engineer Steve Swanson.

Quest Airlock Activities
Numerous activities have taken place in the Quest Airlock in the two weeks until 11 April. The three US EVA suits (Extravehicular Mobility Units or EMUs) and Airlock cooling loops were flushed and recharged with fresh water and water sampling was undertaken on the cooling loops of the EMUs to check for signs of microbial contamination (samples will be returned to ground for chemical analysis). The flushing was instigated to mitigate silica contamination. Silica was identified during ground testing of previously returned EMU hardware, which indicated a higher level of non-reactive silica. This non-reactive silica is present in the system and has been determined as one of the contributing factors, which caused the clogging of the EMU water separator and led to the excessive water in Luca Parmitano’s helmet during the US EVA 23 in July 2013. The non-reactive silica is not scrubbed out by the EMU’s Ion Filters. EVA batteries were also recharged and a successful leak check on a newly installed Water Line Vent Tube Assembly was undertaken for one of the EMUs.

A ground-commanded leak check in the Quest Airlock of the nitrogen distribution system was undertaken to prepare for the installation of a new Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System which will provide a new way of replenishment of the station’s cabin breathing air as well as for operation of the Quest airlock and the station’s pressurized ammonia cooling system. The hardware will be delivered with the SpaceX-3 and SpaceX-4 Dragon spacecraft. The system will be connected directly to the existing airlock N2 and O2 supply systems in order to transfer gas to the Airlock and/or supply existing Airlock/ISS Systems.

Other Activities
Other activities that have taken place on the ISS in the two weeks until 11 April 2014 include: US Orbital segment software update which provided enhancements to nine Multiplexer/Demultiplexer computers; replacing smoke detectors in the Zvezda service module; crew familiarisation activities for the three new ISS crew members that arrived at the ISS on the night of 27/28 March; and a live conference with ISS crew members in the ISS Kibo laboratory to ground with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and veteran Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide.

Additional NASA research activities undertaken on the ISS in the past two weeks include: the FLame Extinguishment eXperiment (FLEX)-2 which studies the rate and manner in which fuel is burned, the conditions that are necessary for soot to form, and the way in which a mixture of fuels evaporate before burning; the Capillary Flow Experiment which studies how fluids flow across surfaces with complex geometries in a weightless environment to improve fluids modelling; the BCAT-KP experiment to investigate colloid phase changes, providing results that may be used to develop new colloidal materials and formulations with unique properties;  the Advanced Colloids Experiment M1 which studies microscopic particles suspended in gels and creams with possible benefits for commercial products on Earth; and the Body Measures experiment which collects anthropometric data to help researchers understand the magnitude and variability of the changes to body measurements during spaceflight.

Additional JAXA research activities undertaken on the ISS in the past two weeks include: the Hybrid Training investigation which studies the use of electrical stimulation as part of countermeasures to muscle atrophy for possible use on future exploration missions; and the Protein Crystal Growth experiment which will help provide detailed information regarding crystal structure for designing new drugs for diseases and catalysts for ecological applications.

Additional Roscosmos research activities undertaken in the Russian segment of the ISS in the past two weeks include: the Interactions experiment, which studies the impacts of personal, cultural and national differences among crew members; the Virtual study, which looks at changes to a cosmonaut’s sensory interactions and adaptations during long-duration space missions; the VIRU experiment which explores using interactive 3D virtual manuals to train for other experiments; the Uragan Earth observation study; the Identification experiment, which investigates dynamic loads on the station; the Chromatomass study which observes microbes in a crew member’s blood and saliva samples; Bioemulsion and Conjugation microbial studies, which may have benefits for medicinal preparations; and the Regeneratsia biology experiment which observes the effects of radiation and microgravity on the regeneration of organic material.


 (*)These activities are highlights of the past two weeks and do not include the majority of standard periodic operational/maintenance activities on the ISS or additional research activities not mentioned previously. Information compiled with the assistance of NASA sources.

Martin Zell  
ESA Head of ISS Utilisation Department

Rosita Suenson  
ESA Human Spaceflight Programme Communication Officer

Weekly reports compiled by ESA's ISS Utilisation Department.

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