More Science Arrives at ISS on Wednesday December 22nd for College Student Experiments NASA (SPOCS) by SpaceX CRS-24 for Expedition 66 Crew.
On Wednesday December 22nd one day after launch SpaceX Dragon delivered 6,500 pounds of cargo, supplies, equipment, food and all important science investigations to the ISS International Space Station at 3:41 AM ET (08:41 UTC) to the space facing port of the Harmony module. It marks the third and final SpaceX Cargo Dragon mission to the ISS in 2021.
In one on one interviews Doctor Bob Dempsey acting deputy chief scientist for the ISS program a 24 year veteran with NASA and has been at this current position since August 2021 stated “exciting times are ahead for this research on board CRS-24!” He stated that just in 2021 their have been over 500 new science investigations researched on the ISS and since its inception the ISS has worked on over 3,200 different science experiments on board this low earth orbital laboratory.
A few of the bigger experiments are the MVP-Plant-01 (Multi Variable Plant) will be using a centrifuge as a control to monitor the roots and shoot development in micro gravity on long duration space missions. A first of a kind hand held bio printer applicator for applying a tissue patch of human cells to cover wounds on astronauts while in space.
Another experiment is the Monoclonal Antibody Crystallization for improved drug delivery systems and manufacturing systems for treating cancer patients. A very interesting investigation is the TSCM Turbine Superalloy Casting Module which will test if metal alloy castings will have a stronger structure when produced in micro gravity conditions. This could make for stronger jet airplane turbine engine fins which last longer and require less maintenance.
PG Tide by Procter & Gamble is a new laundry detergent for washing clothes in space and on earth using much less water than normal. It is estimated that on a trip to Mars over 520 pounds of clothes that astronauts need must be thrown out during the mission which is a significant amount of weight and waste on a space mission per astronaut. Tupperware has a Passive Orbital Delivery System for growing plants that require less attention and upkeep by astronauts.
A terrific program by NASA is the SPOCS Student Payload Opportunity with Citizen Science Program which selected and funded five different universities in a competition out of 19 proposals submitted to NASA. Senior Co-Leads from Columbia University Kal Ganeshan operations research engineering department & Swati Ravi astrophysics department started with a team of 5 and grew to 20 students in all different fields of study to analyze two different types of bacteria commonly found in space environments and are studying them together and their interactions with each other.
Their team will produce the first ever micro biological time lapse video of how the bacteria change and interact with each other while on the ISS. When this investigation is returned in January of 2022 the labs at Columbia University will be involved in analyzing all the data. This project was funded for just $20,000 from NASA. They also learned that one hour of CAD modeling will produce over 100 hours of actual build and manufacturing time for the components in this investigation. Both Kal and Swati are nervous and extremely excited to see CRS-24 fly to the ISS.
We also interviewed two students form Idaho University who both recently graduated from the chemical & biological engineering department Hannah Johnson team lead and Roslyn McCormak. This investigation was their senior project and they are studying two different polymer coatings TMA/CAA & TMA/SA on the blue aluminum 661 handles that you see all over the ISS and their resistance to bacteria.
They started with four different polymer coatings and narrowed it down to two coatings with the help of over 200 third graders and their teachers from Russell Elementary School. The third graders were involved in analyzing the effectiveness of the four polymers and documenting the results and did this on their own time for extra credit. This was amazing to see how many students from all ages this investigation touched before it arrived at the ISS on Wednesday. Well done Hannah & Roslyn!
Article & Photos by Scott Schilke for spacenews.lu and space-news.es