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Unlocking the Secrets of Stem Cells in Zero Gravity

The Expedition 70 crew at the International Space Station embarked on a busy week filled with stem cell research and preparations for the arrival of the Progress 87 cargo craft.

A busy week of science and prep for an upcoming cargo delivery kicked off aboard the International Space StationThe International Space Station (ISS) is a large spacecraft in orbit around the Earth that serves as a research laboratory and spaceport for international collaboration in space exploration. It was launched in 1998 and has been continuously occupied by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts from around the world since 2000. The ISS is a joint project of five space agencies: NASA (USA), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada). It orbits the Earth at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometers (250 miles), and provides a unique platform for scientific research, technological development, and human space exploration.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>International Space Station on Monday as the Expedition 70 crew set its sights on new stem cell research and orbital training.

Preparation for Cargo Delivery

Two cosmonauts, Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub, are gearing up to be on duty monitoring the automated docking of the Progress 87 cargo craft, which is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 10:25 p.m. ESTEST is an abbreviation for Eastern Standard Time, the time zone for the eastern coast of the United States and Canada when observing standard time (autumn/winter). It is five hours behind Coordinated Universal Time. New York City, Washington, D.C., Boston, and the Kennedy Space Center are in the Eastern Time Zone (ET).” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>EST on Wednesday, February 14. Loaded with nearly three tons of food, fuel, and supplies, Progress will dock to the station around 1:12 a.m. Saturday, February 17. In preparation of the upcoming cargo delivery, the cosmonauts trained on the telerobotically operated rendezvous unit, or TORU, which allows them to remotely control an arriving spacecraft in the unlikely event it could not automatically dock.

ISS Progress 84 Undocks From Space Station

The Progress 84 cargo craft is pictured shortly after undocking from the International Space Station’s Poisk Module. Credit: NASA

Meanwhile, the Progress 85 cargo craft, which arrived to the station about six months ago, will undock from the station at 9:09 p.m. Monday, February 12 About three hours later, it will be commanded to deorbit before harmlessly burning up over the Pacific Ocean.

Advancements in Stem Cell Research

While training for the upcoming mission was underway, two NASAEstablished in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Its vision is "To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity." Its core values are "safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and inclusion." NASA conducts research, develops technology and launches missions to explore and study Earth, the solar system, and the universe beyond. It also works to advance the state of knowledge in a wide range of scientific fields, including Earth and space science, planetary science, astrophysics, and heliophysics, and it collaborates with private companies and international partners to achieve its goals.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>NASA Flight Engineers, Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara, focused a majority of their day on the Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Microgravity Induced Bone Loss (MABL-A) investigation. MABL-A, which was delivered aboard Northrop Grumman’s 20th Commercial Resupply Mission nearly two weeks ago, assesses the effects of microgravity on bone marrow stem cells. The duo worked separately throughout the day to sample BioCells inside the habitat with assistance from JAXAFormed in 2003, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was born through the merger of three institutions, namely the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA). JAXA performs various activities related to aerospace, from basic research in the aerospace field to development and utilization and is responsible for research, technology development, and launch of satellites into orbit, and is involved in advanced missions such as asteroid exploration and possible human exploration of the Moon.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa.

Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli Works Inside Life Science Glovebox

NASA astronaut and Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli works inside the Life Science Glovebox for the Microgravity Associated Bone Loss-A investigation. She was processing bone cell samples obtained from human donors on Earth and exploring space-caused bone loss. Results may help doctors learn how to protect and treat astronauts on long-term missions and inform treatments for bone conditions on Earth. Credit:

Orbital Training and Equipment Setup

Later on, Moghbeli donned the Bio-Monitor garment and headband, which monitors and records vital signs while crew members perform daily activities. Afterward, she was joined by Furukawa, ESA (European Space AgencyThe European Space Agency (ESA) is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration and study of space. ESA was established in 1975 and has 22 member states, with its headquarters located in Paris, France. ESA is responsible for the development and coordination of Europe's space activities, including the design, construction, and launch of spacecraft and satellites for scientific research and Earth observation. Some of ESA's flagship missions have included the Rosetta mission to study a comet, the Gaia mission to create a 3D map of the Milky Way, and the ExoMars mission to search for evidence of past or present life on Mars.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>European Space Agency) Commander Andreas Mogensen, and RoscosmosRoscosmos, also known as the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, is the Russian government agency responsible for space activities, including the development and operation of spacecraft, launch vehicles, and space stations. It was formed in 2015 through the merger of the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and the United Rocket and Space Corporation. Roscosmos is responsible for Russia's space program and works closely with other international space agencies on joint projects, such as the International Space Station. The agency is also involved in a wide range of space-related activities, including scientific research, earth observation, telecommunications, and manned spaceflight.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>Roscosmos Flight Engineer Konstantin Borisov to complete orbital training in the unlikely event an emergency were to occur on station.

Near the end of the day, Mogensen, with assistance from Furukawa, unstowed the NanoRacks External Platform and then mounted a pressure management device to it before configuring power and data cables.

Source: SciTechDaily