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Investigation of Murine T-Cells and Cancer Cells under Thermal Stressors and 2D Slow Rotating System Effects as a Testbed for Suborbital Flights

Abstract

Research indicates that exposure to microgravity leads to immune system dysregulation. However, there is a lack of clear evidence on the specific reasons and precise mechanisms accounting for these immune system changes. Past studies investigating space travel-induced alterations in immunological parameters report many conflicting results, explained by the role of certain confounders, such as cosmic radiation, individual body environment, or differences in experimental design. To minimize the variability in results and to eliminate some technical challenges, we advocate conducting thorough feasibility studies prior to actual suborbital or orbital space experiments. We show how exposure to suborbital flight stressors and the use of a two-dimensional slow rotating device affect T-cells and cancer cells survivability. To enhance T-cell activation and viability, we primed them alone or in combination with IL-2 and IL-12 cytokines. Viability of T-cells was assessed before, during the experiment, and at the end of the experiment for which T-cells were counted every day for the last 4 days to allow the cells to form clear structures and do not disturb their evolution into various geometries. The slow rotating device could be considered a good system to perform T-cell activation studies and develop cell aggregates for various types of cells that react differently to thermal stressors.

Open access
Effect of macromolecular mass transport in microgravity protein crystallization

Abstract

To investigate the effect of macromolecular transport and the incorporation of protein aggregate impurities in growing crystals, experiments were performed on the International Space Station (ISS) and compared with control experiments performed in a 1G laboratory environment. Crystal growth experiments for hen egg-white lysozyme (HEWL) and Plasmodium falciparum glutathione S-transferase (PfGST) were monitored using the ISS Light Microscopy Module (LMM). Experiments were performed applying the liquid–liquid counter diffusion crystallization method using rectangular, optically transparent capillaries. To analyze the quantity of impurity incorporated into growing crystals, stable fluorescently labeled protein aggregates were prepared and subsequently added at different percent concentrations to nonlabeled monomeric protein suspensions. For HEWL, a covalent cross-linked HEWL dimer was fluorescently labeled, and for PfGST, a stable tetramer was prepared. Crystallization solutions containing different protein aggregate ratios were prepared. The frozen samples were launched on 19.02.2017 via SpaceX-10 mission and immediately transferred to a -80°C freezer on the ISS. Two series of crystallization experiments were performed on ISS, one during 26.02.2017 to 10.03.2017 and a second during 16.06.2017 to 23.06.2017. A comparison of crystal growth rate and size showed different calculated average growth rates as well as different dimensions for crystals growing in different positions along the capillary. The effect of macromolecular mass transport on crystal growth in microgravity was experimentally calculated. In parallel, the percentage of incorporated fluorescent aggregate into the crystals was monitored utilizing the fluorescent LMM and ground-based fluorescent microscopes.

Open access
Impact of g-Load Shift on Temporal Expression Pattern of Apoptosis-linked Proteins in the Rat Mammary Gland

Abstract

Alteration in gravitational load impacts homeorhetic response in rat dams which affects neonatal pup survival. However, the effects of hypergravity (HG) exposure on the abundance of apoptosis-associated proteins in mammary epithelial cells (MECs) have not been characterized. Therefore, we examined whether chronic exposure to HG from midpregnancy alters the abundance of proapoptotic proteins in MECs during the late pregnancy and early lactation. A group of pregnant Sprague Dawley rats were exposed to either HG (2g) or normo-gravity (1g: stationary control [SC]) from days 11 to 20 of gestation (G20). Another set of animals were investigated from day 11 of pregnancy through days 1 and 3 (P1 and P3, respectively) postpartum. Quantitative (pixels [px]/lobule) immunohistochemistry at G20 of Cleaved Caspase-3 (CC-3), Tumor Protein p53 (P53), and vitamin D receptor (VDR) revealed that all the three proteins were increased (p<0.01) in HG rats compared to SC animals. At P1, the HG group had twofold higher (p<0.001) expression of CC-3 relative to the SC group. Approximately, 50% (p<0.001) more VDR was detected in the HG cohorts than SC at P3. These results suggest that a shift in g-load upregulates the expression of key proapoptotic proteins during the pregnancy-to-lactation transition in the rat MECs.

Open access
Musculoskeletal Outcomes from Chronic High-Speed High-Impact Resistive Exercise

Abstract

Subjects (n=13) did 30 workouts with their left leg on an Inertial Exercise Trainer (IET), while their right leg served as an untreated control. Before and after the 30 workouts, they underwent isokinetic strength tests (knee and ankle extensors of both legs) whose peak torque (PT), time to PT (TTPT), and rate of torque development (RTD) values were each analyzed with 2(leg)×2(time)×3(velocity) analysis of variances (ANOVAs), with repeated measures per independent variable. Peak force (PF) and total work (TW) data were measured from each IET workout, and they represent time course strength changes produced by our exercise intervention. PF and TW values for the three IET exercises that comprised each workout were each analyzed with one-way ANOVAs with time as the independent variable. Results included significant ankle and knee extensor PT increases, whereby the left leg achieved higher values at posttesting, but there were no significant TTPT changes and a time effect for ankle extensor RTD. Our data show that PF and TW each had significant increases over time, with the latter exhibiting greater gains over the 30-workout intervention. Our results imply that the IET yields strength gains over time comparable to standard resistive exercise hardware.

Open access
Challenges of ERAU’s First Suborbital Flight Aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard M7 for the Cell Research Experiment In Microgravity (CRExIM)

Abstract

Cell Research Experiment In Microgravity (CRExIM) was launched aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, from the West Texas Launch Site in Van Horn, Texas. One of the aims of this science experiment was to assess the effects of microgravity on murine T-cells during suborbital flight. These cells were placed in a NanoLab with a data logger that sensed the acceleration, temperature, and relative humidity during preflight, flight, and postflight operations. Some discrepancies in sensor measurement were noticed, and these errors were attributed partly to the difference in sampling rates and partly to the different locations of the sensors, which made it difficult to obtain highly accurate measurements of the accelerations and to correlate both sets of data. This paper discusses the setbacks and lessons learned, which made our team find new alternatives while meeting all milestones as mandated by NanoRacks and Blue Origin. This manuscript highlights these alternatives that led to the success of the mission and gives recommendations that will enable customers to alleviate some of these challenges in future flights.

Open access
Hybrid-Optional Effectiveness Functions Entropy Conditional Extremization Doctrine Contributions into Engineering Systems Reliability Assessments

Abstract

In this publication a Doctrine for the Conditional Extremization of the Hybrid-Optional Effectiveness Functions Entropy is discussed as a tool for the Reliability Assessments of Engineering Systems. Traditionally, most of the problems having been dealt with in this area relate with the probabilistic problem settings. Regularly, the optimal solutions are obtained through the probability extremizations. It is shown a possibility of the optimal solutions “derivation”, with the help of a model implementing a variational principle which takes into account objectively existing parameters and components of the Markovian process. The presence of an extremum of the objective state probability is observed and determined on the basis of the proposed Doctrine with taking into account the measure of uncertainty of the hybrid-optional effectiveness functions in the view of their entropy. Such approach resembles the well known Jaynes’ Entropy Maximum Principle from theoretical statistical physics adopted in subjective analysis of active systems as the subjective entropy maximum principle postulating the subjective entropy conditional optimization. The developed herewith Doctrine implies objective characteristics of the process rather than subjective individual’s preferences or choices, as well as the states probabilities maximums are being found without solving a system of ordinary linear differential equations of the first order by Erlang corresponding to the graph of the process. Conducted numerical simulation for the proposed mathematical models is illustrated with the plotted diagrams.

Open access
Mechanical Analysis Process of a Coaxial Counter Rotor for Applications in Unmanned Ultra-Light Units

Abstract

As the rotor configuration has the most impact on helicopter properties, the process of determination the assumptions for rotor design is a very important factor in the early stage of rotorcraft development. The following paper presents a mechanical analysis process used at the Institute of Aviation to quickly develop a coaxial rotor prototype applicable in ultra-light unmanned helicopter which has the potential for further improvement of its flight parameters. The article describes the rotor analysis process due to its feasibility based on commercially available solutions, the process of formulating assumptions for the entire structure, MES analysis of the rotor parts all leading to creation of the rotor prototype.

Open access
Numerical Study of an Isothermal Slush Flow for Aerospace Propulsion Applications

Abstract

Slushes are two-phase solid-liquid single-species cryogenic fluids that exhibit an increased density and a greater heat capacity with respect to the corresponding normal boiling point liquids. These promising features are of large interest for applications that exploit slush as a thermal fluid, like super magnets refrigeration, cryogenic cooling of bio-materials or air conditioning, and for aerospace systems that use slush fluids as fuel or oxidizer. Several programs in the frame of the research on Slush Hydrogen (SLH2) as a new-generation fuel for aerospace propulsion have been started in the past. This work was carried out in the framework of a VKI research activity promoted by the Predict ESA Technology Research Programme, to investigate experimentally and numerically the behavior of slush flows in a representative upper stage feeding line. In this paper, we present a simulation based on a granular two-fluid model on an isothermal solid liquid mixture (slurry) and a Nitrogen slush (SLN2) fluid flowing in a horizontal pipe. A finite-volumes discretization using the software library OpenFOAM was benchmarked against experimental and numerical literature data, to assess the accuracy of the code in predicting pressure drops along the pipe axis and solid particle distribution across the pipe diameter. Moreover, the effects of concentration and inlet velocity are investigated. We show that the numerical model fairly reproduces the literature data in terms of important aspects as the solid volume fraction distribution and the pressure drops, especially for high flow rates.

Open access
On the Areospace-Grade Adhesives Shear Strength Testing with ASTM D5656 Test as an Example

Abstract

This article presents adhesive shearing test methods, focusing especially on the ASTM D5656 method. These methods will be briefly characterized and compared. The most important concerns about the D5656 method are described. With the use of ASTM D1002 and D5656 methods, the influence of adherend surface preparation on shearing properties of the bond is evaluated. Compared to sandblasting only, sandblasting followed by the FPL process (sulfochromate etching of aluminum) increased shear strength of joints by 35 % for ASTM D1002 tests and by 48% for D5656 tests. Comparing these two methods, shear strength obtained in D5656 tests is about two times higher than in D1002 tests. The cause for this phenomena is much larger adherend thickness in the D5656 method, which provides the coupons with increased stiffness. Shear modulus, calculated with 3 different calculation methods, showed differences in obtained results, which points to necessary actualization of D5656 standard.

Open access
Preparation and Implementation of a Test Flight of Lightweight, Unmanned Stratospheric Balloon with Gopro Camera Mounted and Analysis of Acquired Material

Abstract

Publication contains a description of the preparation and the implementation of a test flight of a stratospheric balloon with a mounted camera GoPro Hero3. Description includes: used equipment, its parameters, role in the success of the mission and the difficulties and limitations that the project team encountered during the preparation and implementation of the flight. The mission was attended by a team of six engineers and scientists from the Remote Sensing Division, who were also involved in the implementation of the HESOFF project. One of the main goals of the HESOFF project was to obtain aerial images on the Krotoszyńska Plate (woj. wielkopolskie) using the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and to carry out remote monitoring of oak stands. The primary goal of an experimental balloon flight was to check the technical operational capability and gain experience in planning and implementing this type of project. During the balloon raising, the video material was acquired in the form of a recording, which later was analyzed. On the basis of the collected information, the conclusions regarding the possibility of implementing a long endurance flight in the stratosphere, illustrating (using a multisensor platform) research surfaces of the HESOFF project were presented. The stages of implementation of the presented mission were divided into following parts: preparation of the flight with the completion of equipment and necessary documents (flight permission), proper flight realization, understood as the release of the balloon and identification of the place where the equipment landed, as well as analysis and presentation of the results.

Open access