SpaceX has some beautiful pictures of the Dragon capsule before and after berthing yesterday. Enjoy!
Monday, April 21, 2014
|T-cell in space! Astronaut Rick Mastracchio loads our cassettes into the KUBIK centrifuge (photo: NASA)|
We've made it to the ISS! Or at least our samples have. The Dragon capsule berthing was complete this morning, and T-cell was one of the first payloads unloaded. The cold bag containing our experimental cassettes was handed off to astronaut Rick Mastracchio, who performed the on-board operations. While it would be very neat to have been up there with the samples, we settled (happily) for watching a live stream from the ISS.
|All dressed up to do our ground controls.|
Speaking of our samples, we had a pretty busy day in lab doing our ground controls. In addition to the 10 experimental containers sent to the ISS, we filled four additional cassettes on our long isolation day to stay with us on the ground. This morning, we moved them to a special room that mimics the conditions on-board the ISS. In full clean-room outfitting - hairnet, gloves, lab coats and booties - we then incubated, activated and fixed our ground samples just like our samples on board (with a two hour delay so we could get the exact time between each step right).
On one of our many plane trips between SF and Florida the last few weeks (they all blend together now) we watched the Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which featured a version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity." It's been stuck in our head this past week, and seemed very fitting for this post.
It's crazy to be done with this phase of the experiment -- we've been working towards this for more than a year! Now all we have to do is wait to get our samples back for analysis and the real science (and fun) will begin.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Friday, April 18, 2014
We have a few days to wait for T-Cell opps onboard. Until then, we wish safe travels to the Dragon capsule on it's way to the ISS. And our gratitude to all the support on the ground - from our lab support at KSC to cold stowage to all the teams working like crazy this last week to make the launch possible. Hurrah to SpaceX for a flawless launch! Go Dragon!
Monday, April 14, 2014
Saturday, April 12, 2014
|SSPF as we entered tonight|
The Space Station Processing Facility (SSPF) is the location of our lab. It is midnight on 4/13/2014 and Tara, Miya, Emily and I have been here since 9:30 PM EST along with our NASA support teams.
|KI hands over hardware to T Cell Team|
Handover of the flight hardware from Kayser Italia to the T Cell Team in the laboratory before the start of isolation of the T cells.
|LRS sitting in a 50 ml tube|
It will be a long night since we are isolating T-cells from the LRS and buffy coat blood bank samples. We have 10 independent human samples prepared; we use the best 8 for the experiment (n=8). The photo on the left shows a LRS at the start of isolation. Isolation is finished around 3 AM; we then start loading the samples into flight hardware.
Experimental Unit holds four independent donor samples
More Pictures of the team:
|Starting to process our blood samples|
|Layering blood over Ficoll to separate out the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs)|
|Adding media to isolated cells|
|Counting our cells|
|Filling the Experimental Units (EUs)|