International Space Station Crew Down to Three

ISS Expedition 57 change of command to Expedition 58 commander Oleg Kononenko. Credit: NASA.

David Saint-Jacques is in his third week aboard the International Station Station (ISS) and later today it will become a lot quieter with the departure of half of the crew.

Tonight the Expedition 57 crew of Alexander Gerst, Sergey Prokopev, and Serena Auñón-Chancellor will leave the ISS at 8:40PM EST and are scheduled to land at 12:03AM EST.

This will leave three only the three Expedition 58 crew members, Oleg Kononenko, now the Commander, Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques on the ISS until the next crew launches on February 28.

Watch the crew command change

For just over two weeks Saint-Jacques has been busy getting used to his home and performing a variety of ISS housekeeping duties along with research.

Some of that research has included;

Sample daily crew activities

So what does a crew do during a typical day? Below are the research and other activities, such as ISS housekeeping, they performed yesterday. The information below is made available by NASA. You can follow the crews daily activities with SpaceRef’s integrated ISS status reports which go back 15 years.

December 18, 2018 research activities

Change of Command Ceremony: Expedition 57 CDR Alexander Gerst handed off station command to Expedition 58 CDR Oleg Kononenko this afternoon. The Expedition 57 Crew (Alexander Gerst, Sergey Prokopev, Serena Auñón-Chancellor) are scheduled to undock from ISS tomorrow, December 19 at 7:40PM CT with landing set to occur at 11:03PM CT.

Advanced Plant Experiment-05 (APEX-05): Today the APEX-05 Petri Plate was removed from the FIR/LMM (Fluids Integrated Rack/Light Microscopy Module), closing out the experiment. The team reports that successful imaging of root tips was accomplished. Originally the APEX-05 experiment flew on SpaceX-13 and was partially completed except for the imagery of the two LMM (Light Microscopy Module) plate samples as the LMM was not operating at the time. A new LMM wide-field camera has been installed, and two LMM samples were re-flown on SpaceX-16. The Spaceflight-induced Hypoxic/ROS Signaling (APEX-05) experiment grows different wild and mutant varieties of Arabidopsis thaliana, in order to understand how their genetic and molecular stress response systems work in space.

Airway Monitoring: The crew performed the necessary calibrations, followed by Low nitric oxide (NO) and High NO measurements for the ambient pressure session in the US Lab. The ground team reported they believe they obtained a good data set from today’s session. The ESA Airway Monitoring investigation aims to determine in detail the pulmonary NO turnover in weightlessness and in combined weightless, hypobaric and hypoxic environments. The goal is also to determine the lung diffusion capacity for NO with dust particles present in the ISS atmosphere. This investigation studies the occurrence and indicators of airway inflammation in crewmembers, using ultra-sensitive gas analyzers to analyze exhaled air. This will help to identify health impacts and support maintenance of crewmember well-being on future human spaceflight missions, such as to the Moon and Mars, where crewmembers will have to be more self-sufficient in identifying and avoiding such conditions.

Grip Supine session: The crew performed the GRIP science tasks while restrained on the chair and wearing a noise-cancelling system. ESA’s Grip investigation tests how the nervous system takes into account the forces due to gravity and inertia when manipulating objects. Results from this investigation may provide insight into potential hazards for astronauts as they manipulate objects in different gravitational environments. They also support design and control of haptic interfaces to be used in challenging environments such as space, and provide information about motor control that will be useful for the evaluation and rehabilitation of impaired upper limb control in patients with neurological diseases.

Nanoracks Module 74: Today a crewmember sequentially placed the 6 microplates into the Plate Reader-2 for scanning, and then stowed them back into Module-74. This is day 10 of the scanning operations. The Module-74 experiment investigates the Effects of Microgravity on Controlled Release of Antibiotics and Curing Mechanism of a Novel Wound Dressing (Hydrogel Formation and Drug Release in Microgravity Conditions) and studies the formation and drug release from cross-linked or mixed hydrogels in microgravity.

TangoLab-2 card cube replacement: Today a crewmember swapped out experiment cubes on Card #12 and re-inserted the Card back into the TangoLab-2 unit. The new cube (EMLT_TOC01) mission name is Organs-On-Chips as a Platform for Studying Effects of Microgravity on Human Physiology. Its goal is to analyze the effect of microgravity and other space-related stressors on the brain-blood barrier (BBB). It uses fully automated tissue chip technology, a Brain-Chip consisting of living neuronal and vascular endothelial cells in a micro-engineered environment.

Other Planned Activities: (All activities are complete unless otherwise noted)

  • Acoustic Monitor Setup for Static Measurements
  • Water Recovery and Management (WRM) Waste Water Bag (WWB) Split
  • Deactivating Vozdukh Atmosphere Purification System [СОА].  Activating Vozdukh to mode 4
  • Ultrasound 2 HRF Rack 1 Power On
  • Health Maintenance System (HMS) Ultrasound 2 Scan
  • Sanitary and epidemiological status monitoring
  • Calibrations, Low NO and High NO measurements
  • MRM1-FGB interface screw clamp tightening
  • At Home In Space Questionnaire
  • Sanitary and epidemiological status monitoring
  • LBNP Exercise (FINAL)
  • Water Recovery Management (WRM) EDV Changeout
  • Descent Private Medical Conference (PMC)
  • Plate Reader2 Module-74 Microplate Scan
  • Handover of Increment XX Crew
  • Charging GoPro HERO3 camcorder battery in Soyuz 739 (6 pieces) – initiate/ Video & Audio
  • Bringing ODF up to date using Soyuz 741 delivered files
  • DECLIC Directional Solidification Insert Removal
  • AIRMON Power off and Stow
  • Countermeasures System (CMS) Treadmill 2 (T2) Exercise Session
  • DECLIC Removable Hard Disk Drive Removal
  • DECLIC Instrument Removal Preparation
  • DECLIC Locker Removal
  • Modifying damper loading for right-seat Казбек-УМ in Soyuz 739. Change mode to Т (heavy).
  • Food Acceptability Questionnaire
  • Meteor On Board Training Review
  • GRIP setup in the SEATED configuration
  • Meteor Hard Drive Swapout
  • Microbial Habitat Monitoring
  • On-Orbit Hearing Assessment (O-OHA) with EarQ Software Setup and Test
  • Charging GoPro HERO3 camcorder battery in Soyuz 739 (6 units) – terminate / Video & Audio
  • AIRMON Power off and Stow
  • PHOTOBIOREACTOR. Removal of kits from ТБУ-B #05 and Transfer to Soyuz 739
  • REGENERATSIYA-1. Transfer of containers to Soyuz # 739
  • ASEPTIC. Hardware Transfer to Soyuz 739
  • GRIP setup in Supine position
  • Photo/TV Airway Monitor Video Tear down in LAB
  • ASEPTIC. ТБУ-В No.02 Thermostat Deactivation and Removal
  • Crew Departure Preparations for Return to Earth
  • On-Orbit Hearing Assessment (O-OHA) with EarQ Software Setup and Test
  • GRIP science performance in supine position
  • Stowage of Equipment to be returned by Soyuz 739 (P/L Container) Note 6
  • Cargo Transfer from Soyuz 741 with IMS update
  • Internal Audio Subsystem (IAS) Crew Quarter (CQ) Audio Cable Configuration
  • Microbial Tracking-2 Sample MELFI Retrieval Insert
  • Crew Departure Preparations for Return to Earth
  • Fluids Integrated Rack Rack Doors Open
  • Replacement of filters on ПС1, ПС2 dust collectors in FGB
  • LMM APEX-05 LMM Petri Plate Remove
  • HRF Generic Ambient Blood Collection Setup
  • Fluids Integrated Rack Rack Doors Close
  • HRF Generic Saliva Collection Setup
  • P/L Glacier Sample Removal
  • VZAIMODEISTVIE-2. Experiment Ops
  • Soyuz 739 P/L Container Transfer Operations Report
  • TangoLab-2 Card Cube Replace
  • Plate Reader2 Module-74 Microplate Scan
  • GRIP stow
  • HRF Generic Saliva Collection Setup
  • Team Task Switching Experiment Survey
  • Signing of RS crew handover statement
  • Change of Command

Story time with David Saint-Jacques

One of the activities David Saint-Jacques did yesterday was read to children from space in french. The special event was to mark the publication of the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) new ebook The Explorers Club. You can read the story online or download the ebook from the Apple or Google stores for free.

According to the CSA media release “the Explorers Club features the story of Layla, Niko, Gemma and Mathias… as well as Chewie, their curious puppy! Inspired by Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques, they set off on their own space mission – the most magical adventure of their lives!”

On the release of the new ebook, Saint-Jacques said “even when my work takes me far from home, I like to keep the ritual of reading bedtime stories. For me, it’s a special time to connect with my children. Books fuel children’s imagination. I hope The Explorers Club e-book will bring space into your little ones’ dreams.”

The ebook is one of several activities designed to reach Canadian youth during Saint-Jacques mission. Other activities include;

  • Living Space: A new youth science research project where students explore how environmental conditions can affect physical and mental health while practising analytical thinking and learning digital skills like coding.
  • Little Inventors – Inventions for Space: A creative challenge for children across the country to come up with ideas to make life in space easier and more fun. The top inventions will be turned into prototypes by expert makers and artisans. Two will even make an appearance in space!
  • Astro Pi Challenge: A European science and coding competition where students are invited to develop code that could be run on the Space Station’s unique Raspberry Pi computers. Two different complexity levels make Astro Pi accessible to students with or without coding experience.
  • Wanted: Creative Writers: Canadians aged 9 and over are invited to write and submit a space-themed story for children aged 3 to 8. All stories must be original and must not have been previously published.

Watch David-Saint Jacques read The Explorers Club (in french)

After the Expedition 57 crew departs today, the Expedition 58 crew will have tomorrow off, meaning they are free to pursue their own activities. I’m sure with the holidays only a few days away Saint-Jacques and his crewmates will spend some time talking with family.

About Marc Boucher

Marc Boucher
Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactice Inc. Boucher has 18 years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 25 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.