SSEP Mission 3 to ISS: Experiment Log

IMPORTANT NOTES
All information added or updated since this page first went up on September 17, 2013, is in GREEN TEXT below.
Information still to be determined (if any) is in RED TEXT below.

Last update of this page: November 4, 2013, 9:42 am ET

Quick Jump:
1. Introduction and Nomenclature for the Log
2. Pre-Launch Activities
3. Launch and Docking
4. Flight Experiment Log, On-Orbit Operations: Mission 3 Falcon I Payload
5. Undocking and Landing
6. Return of Experiments to Student Teams

 

1. Introduction and Nomenclature for the Log

This page provides student flight experiment teams a log of activities conducted with the SSEP Mission 3 Falcon I payload from the time the mini-laboratories are received in Houston before the flight to the point when the mini-labs are shipped back to the flight teams after the flight. While the page will feature progress reports on the status of the SSEP payload in general, its main purpose is to provide updates to the flight experiment teams as quickly as possible regarding the handling of the mini-laboratories in orbit, so that they can effectively conduct their ground truth experiments. The teams are advised to bookmark this page and check it for updates during the mission.

As per the SSEP Mission 3 to ISS: Flight Phase Operations page:

Updates to Student Teams on the Progress of Their Experiment
Astronauts will work with the SSEP payload at times of the day that fit best in their overall work schedule. Even though crew interactions with the experiments are to take place on pre-specified Crew Interaction Days, the time of interaction can therefore vary from one Crew Interaction day to the next. While the SSEP program team may know the astronauts’ planned work schedule a few days in advance, we’ll not know exactly when the payload is handled until the task is complete. After the astronauts have completed handling of the SSEP payload, NanoRacks will forward a report on the activity to the SSEP program team, which will then post the details, including the time at which the payload was handled, on the SSEP Mission 3 to ISS: Experiment Log page (the page you are reading now) to make the information available to all student teams as quickly as possible. The report will be posted as soon as it is received, but it may take up to 24 hours for the information from the International Space Station to make its way to the log. That means, for example, that the details of an activity conducted by the astronauts on the afternoon of September 24 will be posted on the Experiment Log no later than the afternoon of September 25 (and likely far sooner than that).

Conducting Your Ground Truth Experiments
Ground truth experiments – the control versions of the experiment conducted on Earth while the microgravity experiment is being conducted in orbit – are an essential part of analyzing the results of the flight experiment. Once the flight experiment returns to Earth, simultaneous harvesting and analysis of both the flight experiment and the ground truth experiments allows the research team to assess the role of gravity in the physical, chemical, or biological system under study. It is hard to imagine how the role of gravity can be determined without ground truth experiments conducted at the same time as the flight experiment.

However, given that it may take up to a day to receive a report on exactly what time of day a specific activity was conducted with an experiment aboard the ISS, the student team may want to shift activities with their ground truth experiments by 1 day (24 hours). That will allow teams to ensure that the timing of activities they carry out on their ground truth experiments accurately reflects the timing of activities with their experiment aboard the station. This is especially important for experiments that are sensitive to exact timing. For example, if a microbiological experiment is likely to produce different results depending on whether it is active for 40 or 50 hours, the teams will want to match the exact timing of the experiment aboard the station with their ground truth experiment.

Nomenclature: The purpose of this log is to provide to the flight experiment teams information on the handling of their experiment, as well as providing updates on the progress of the Mission. For this log, the individual experiments are assigned an identifier using a prefix “SSEPM3″ for Mission 3 experiments, followed by a number assigned to each experiment (see Section 4 below).

 

2. Pre-Launch Activities

April 23, 2013: 7 flight experiment mini-laboratories were reported received by NanoRacks in Houston for payload integration, for a May 28, 2013 launch of Soyuz 34S. This included: 5 flight experiments for Mission 3 to ISS and 2 re-flight experiments from Mission 1 and 2 to ISS.

April 30, 2013: NanoRacks reported the payload was transferred to Orbital Sciences Orb-D1 flight, scheduled for June 15 (see Blog Post).

May 11, 2013: first stage engine problems postpone Orb-D1 launch until September 2013 (see Blog Post); due to extensive delay, all flight teams given opportunity to refresh mini-labs and re-ship.

July 29, 2013:  deadline for NanoRacks to receive any re-freshed  mini-labs for payload integration. The Russell County, VA, experiment team was the only team to submit a re-freshed experiment.

 

3. Launch and Docking

September 18, 2013, 10:58 am ET: Orb-D1 lifts off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0B at Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.

Expected grapple and berthing at ISS: September 22, 2013, 7:17 am ET

September 29, 2013, 3:00 am ET:  Cygnus began its final approach to the ISS

September 29, 2013, 7:00 am ET:  Cygnus was grappled by the station’s robotic arm when it was about 10 meters away

September 29, 2013, 8:45 am ET:  Cygnus berthed with ISS on the nadir side of its Harmony module

 

4. Flight Experiment Log, On-Orbit Operations: Mission 3 Falcon I Payload

Interactions Scheduled Prior to Flight (subject to change) CLICK ON TABLE TO ZOOM

(revised 10/23/13 in consultation with flight experiment teams requiring interactions on final 3 Crew Interaction Days)
M3 Flt Expt Sched Revised 10_23_13

 

Record of Reported On-Orbit Interactions
SSEPM3-01:
 Alpine, NJ, What is the effect of farming in microgravity using hydroponics, and how is it different from plants grown on Earth using the same method?
(U-14) Action: Activated; When Action Occurred on ISS: 7:37 AM EDT, 10/28/13; Time of NCESSE Notification: 7:52 AM EDT, 10/28/13

SSEPM3-02: Howard County, MD, The Effect of Microgravity on Chryseobacterium Aquaticum Growth
(U-10) Action: Activated; When Action Occurred on ISS: 8:40 AM EDT, 11/1/13; Time of NCESSE Notification: 12:29 PM EDT, 11/1/13
(U-7) Action: Deactivated; When Action Occurred on ISS:  3:10 AM EDT, 11/04/13; Time of NCESSE Notification:  4:15 AM EDT, 11/04/13

SSEPM3-03: Pennsauken, NJ, The Effect of Microgravity on Eggshells and Vinegar
(A=0) Action: Activated; When Action Occurred on ISS:  8:45 AM EDT, 09/30/13; Time of NCESSE Notification:  11:59 AM EDT, 09/30/13
(A+2) Action: Deactivated; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:50 AM EDT, 10/02/13; Time of NCESSE Notification:  12:40 PM EDT, 10/02/13

SSEPM3-04: Willis, TX, Germination of Cabbage Seed
(U-14) Action: Activated; When Action Occurred on ISS: 7:37 AM EDT, 10/28/13; Time of NCESSE Notification: 7:52 AM EDT, 10/28/13

SSEPM3-05: San Marino, CA, Fibroblast Division in Microgravity
(U-14) Action: Activated; When Action Occurred on ISS: 7:37 AM EDT, 10/28/13; Time of NCESSE Notification: 7:52 AM EDT, 10/28/13
(U-7) Action: Deactivated; When Action Occurred on ISS:  3:10 AM EDT, 11/04/13; Time of NCESSE Notification:  4:15 AM EDT, 11/04/13

SSEPM3-06: San Marino, CA (M1 re-flight experiment), Effect of Microgravity on the Antibacterial Resistance of P. aeruginosa
(A+2) Action: Activated; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:50 AM EDT, 10/02/13; Time of NCESSE Notification:  12:40 PM EDT, 10/02/13
(A+4) Action: Deactivated; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:57 AM EDT, 10/04/13; Time of NCESSE Notification:  11:21 AM EDT, 10/04/13

SSEPM3-07: Russell County, VA (M2 re-flight experiment), The Rate of Oxidation in a Microgravity Environment
(A=0) Action:  Activated (both Ampoule A and B were activated); When Action Occurred on ISS:  8:35 AM EDT, 09/30/13; Time of NCESSE Notification:  4:57 PM EDT, 10/01/13

 

5. Undocking and Landing

November 4, 2013, (U-7): Crew activities were completed and Astronaut Karen Nyberg, stowed the NanoRacks Module 9 S/N 1007 containing the Mission 3 Falcon I Payload for return on Soyuz 35 currently scheduled for undock on November 10, 2013.

6. Return of Experiments to Student Teams

 


The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with NanoRacks LLC, working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)Carnegie Institution of Washington, NASA Nebraska Space Grant Consortium, and Subaru of America, Inc., are National Partners on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with NanoRacks LLC, working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.