Human Research Facility-2 (HRF-2) - 08.23.18

Summary | Overview | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Human Research Facility-2 (HRF-2) provides an on-orbit laboratory that enables human life science researchers to study and evaluate the physiological, behavioral and chemical changes induced by spaceflight. Research performed using HRF-2 provides data to help scientists understand how the human body adapts to long-duration spaceflight.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Suzanne McCollum, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Facility Details

OpNom: HRF-2

Facility Manager(s)
Suzanne McCollum, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States

Facility Representative(s)
Information Pending

NASA Johnson Space Center, Human Research Program, Houston, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
NASA Research Office - Human Research Program (NASA Research-HRP)

ISS Expedition Duration
April 2005 - March 2016; March 2016 - August 2018; -

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending


  • Onboard
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    Facility Description

    Facility Overview

    The Human Research Facility (HRF-2) consists of hardware mounted in a rack that is based on the EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) rack design as well as separate equipment kept in stowage and brought out as needed.

    HRF-2 was launched aboard STS-114 (Discovery) July 26, 2005 and is currently located in the Columbus Module. HRF-2 provides power, command and data handling, cooling air and water, pressurized gas, and vacuum to experiments.

    The International Space Station (ISS) moderate temperature cooling loop is extended into the HRF to keep the rack at ambient temperature. Each payload can use up to 500W of power and the sum of all payloads can use up to 2000 W of power. HRF-2 is connected to ISS video services and Ethernet, which allow the ISS and ground operations crews to control payloads. The rack has front-panel access ports for the laptop, vacuum, deployed payloads, and nitrogen delivery system.

    Descriptions of the hardware housed in HRF-2 are listed below:

    The portable computer (HRF PC) is used to install and execute software that supports the experiments. It is used to control equipment; to collect and store data, crew notes, and equipment notes; and to provide uplink and downlink capabilities. The HRF PC is capable of supporting Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) allowing ground personnel to control all of the software on the HRF PC in real-time.

    The Refrigerated Centrifuge (RC) separates biological substances of various densities by spinning at a high rate of speed. The RC can hold samples between 0.5 and 50 ml in size. The investigator can select a speed between 500 and 5000 revolutions per minute (rpm) and a duration between 1 and 60 minutes. Samples are centrifuged at ambient temperature (refrigeration is not available at this time).

    The HRF Centrifuge is a swing-bucket, unrefrigerated centrifuge used to separate substances of different densities via relative centrifugal force that would normally separate slowly under the influence of gravity or not at all in microgravity. This unit, launched on SpX-14 during Expedition 55, is based on a modified Drucker Model 755VES centrifuge, and is mounted to the internal sliding tray of an HRF Payload Drawer (a sub-rack support platform occupying an 8PU drawer shell that provides power and data interfaces for either internal or external payloads). The HRF Centrifuge supports the use of up to 6 HRF Centrifuge Tube Carriers, suspended from the rotor using magnets and each containing 4 wells – 2 for 15-mm to 16-mm outer diameter (OD) centrifuge tubes and 2 for 12-mm to 13-mm OD centrifuge tubes. Spin times range from 1 to 99 minutes in duration (in 1 minute increments) at a rotor speed of 1000 to 4300 RPM (in increments of 100). Braking force is selectable (ranges from 0, for no additional braking force, to 9, which provides maximum active braking force), and the imbalance detection threshold, based on tri-axial accelerometers, can be specified between 1 (no alarm) and 10 (hair-trigger sensitivity) for each axis. The HRF Centrifuge enables ground controllers to customize spin protocols, start runs and query various telemetry parameters in real-time via RDP on the HRF PC.

    Two Cooling Stowage Drawers (CSDs) provide stowage for equipment. When in operation, the drawers maintain a uniform temperature by improving air circulation in the rack to remove the heat generated by individual powered payloads that use HRF-2.

    An HRF 8PU Utility Drawer provides stowage for consumables with added radio-frequency identification (RFID) capability built in that automates inventory of the RFID-tagged contents without crew intervention.  The drawer also provides power and data connections on the front panel for deployed equipment requiring rack power or data.

    The Pulmonary Function System (PFS) is the result of a collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop pulmonary physiology instrumentation. This Photoacoustic-based Analyzer System (PAS) uses the Photoacoustic Analyzer Module (PAM), Pulmonary Function Module (PFM), and Gas Delivery System (GDS). Data from this system can be downlinked or archived for analysis.

    The PAM, developed by ESA, determines the concentration of respired gas components that may contain significant concentrations of nitrogen and water vapor.

    The Pulmonary Function Module (PFM), when operated with the PAM and the GDS, is capable of taking many cardiovascular and respiratory measurements, including breath-by-breath lung capacity and cardiac output.

    The GDS is a subcomponent of the Pulmonary Function System (PFS). The GDS provides gases for calibration of the PFS and for inspiration as part of respiratory protocols, which can be used to calculate the cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary parameters for metabolic analysis.

    HRF-2 includes the following components: RC, PFS, and the HRF Centrifuge launched on SPX-14.

    Payloads within the Human Research Facility 2 (HRF-2) can operate independently of each other or together in various configurations regardless of their cooling and power needs and the flight schedule. The HRF power converter delivers 120V of direct current (DC) power from the utility outlet panel to the rack and converts it to 28 Vdc for distribution to the payloads. Payload computer and video operations can be conducted from the ground or on the International Space Station. The crew performs payload operations and hardware checks whenever required.

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    Facility Operations
    Subrack elements of Human Research Facility 2 (HRF-2) have supported the Biochem Profile, Cardio Ox, Fluid Shifts, Functional Immune, Microbiome, Nutrition, Periodic Fitness Evaluation with Oxygen Uptake Measurement (PFE-OUM), Pro K, Repository, Salivary Markers, and Twins Study experiments as well as NASA CASIS' Rodent Research, ESA's CARD, Energy, Sarcolab-3, and SOLO, CSA’s BP Reg, Marrow, Vascular Echo, JAXA's Cell-Free Epigenome, Medical Proteomics, and MHU, CASIS ADSEP, and ASI’s Drain Brain experiments. NASA’s Standard Measures, ESA’s Myotones, and CSA’s Aging experiments will also utilize HRF-2.

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    Decadal Survey Recommendations

    Information Pending

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    Results/More Information

    Information Pending

    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

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    Related Websites

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    NASA Image: ISS043E120898 - The Human Research Facility (HRF) Rack 2 in the Columbus module taken by the Expedition 43 crew.

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    image NASA Image: ISS011E11380 - Human Research Facility 2 (HRF-2) installed on the International Space Station during Expedition 11. This image shows HRF-2 in the launch configuration prior to relocation of the Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device (SLAMMD) to HRF-1 and the Gas Analyzer System for Metabolic Analysis Physiology (GASMAP) to HRF-2.
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    NASA Image: ISS012E22641 - The configuration of Human Research Facility 2 (HRF-2) during Increment 12. The Gas Analyzer System for Metabolic Analysis Physiology (GASMAP) was installed into the slot that the Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device (SLAMMD) had occupied. The SLAMMD is currently located in HRF-1.

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    NASA Image: ISS013E64486 - European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter, Expedition 13 Flight Engineer (FE), prepares the Human Research Facility 2 (HRF-2) rack for the scheduled upgrade of the Pulmonary Function System (PFS) experiment in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station.

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    image NASA Image: ISS025E013212 - Overall view of the Human Research Facility (HRF) Rack 2 in the Columbus module taken by the Expedition 25 crew.
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    NASA Image: ISS030E257689 - European Space Agency (ESA) Andre Kuipers, Expedition 30 Flight Engineer (FE), during Integrated Immune Blood Sample Draw at the Human Research Facility (HRF), in the Columbus Module. Photo taken during Expedition 30.

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