Johnson Space Center, Houston
Gator Alumnus Aims to Keep Moon-Bound Astronauts Healthy
HOUSTON – Duane Chin, a member of the Gator Nation, has gone from Jamaica to Florida to Houston throughout his life. Now his sights are set on the moon.
A biomedical engineer for Wyle, Chin works as a crew health integrations specialist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Chin supports the flight surgeons during shuttle missions and is working with NASA’s Constellation Program, which is developing America’s next spacecraft. This fleet includes the Ares I and Ares V rockets, the Orion crew exploration vehicle and the Altair lunar lander. These vehicles will take astronauts to the International Space Station after the retirement of the space shuttle and will eventually return humans to the moon and then beyond.
Chin was born in Kingston, Jamaica, but when he was 5 years old, his family moved to Miami. While attending Miami Sunset Senior High School, he developed an interest in science, specifically in marine biology, and became involved in multiple biology clubs. His interest in science continued when he graduated from high school in 1992.
His journey then took him to the University of Florida where he focused his interest on the field of biomedical engineering, prompting him to join the student chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society. After graduation Chin worked with several companies developing rehab assistive technology when he heard about the opportunities with NASA.
“I just got more interested in the idea of becoming a flight controller,” he said. “Sitting inside Mission Control interacting with the crew and sending commands to hardware boxes really appealed to me.”
Chin is now working on technology that will aid astronauts during extended stays aboard the space station or on the lunar surface. Chin is involved in the development of operational requirements for new exercise equipment that will ensure astronauts’ bones and muscles stay in good shape during long-duration spaceflight.
Chin credits his education and interest in science and engineering as sparking the creativity and commitment he brings to his role at NASA.
“I wasn’t born when we landed on the moon,” Chin said, “…for my generation, we hear about it, we hear our parents talk about it, we see the movies, we see the documentaries, but we’re going to be able to live that. We’re going to be sitting in MCC (mission control center) when we land on the moon…to me that’s really exciting.”
For photos and video of Chin and more information on NASA’s Constellation Program, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/constellation/stars/index.html
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