NanoRacks has completed an investigation in why a number of student experiments recently sent to the International Space Station were not properly activated. The company’s explanation is reproduced below.
MixStix Non-Activation Investigation Reaches Conclusions
Michael Johnson and his team have concluded that the failure of the research hardware for NCESSE to have been activated took place because of a flaw in the training procedures.
Previous crews were given on-the-ground review and personal interaction prior to launch. For this mission, the astronaut was the first to receive hardware training solely via video while on the space station. Clearly, there was a miscommunication resulting from the video instructions and, at the same time, no means for feedback between the NanoRacks operations team and the astronaut regarding the video.
a) we are changing the instructional video for this set of hardware
b) we will seek to train the astronaut prior to mission deployment where possible
c) we are also reviewing all NanoRacks training videos to assure mission success.