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ISS Update: How Long-Duration Spaceflight Affects Health – 05.30.2012
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ISS Update: Interviews (May 28-June 1, 2012)
ISS Update commentator Kelly Humphries interviews the Principal Investigator for the Pro_K and Nutrition experiments, Dr. Scott Smith in the International Space Station flight control room at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston. During the interview, Smith talks about the Pro_K experiment, Nutrition experiment and how the microgravity environment of space can affect vision and health.
Smith mentioned that the Pro_K experiment is a study that looks into how diet can help to mitigate the changes in bone density during long-duration spaceflight. In the study, researchers take a look at how lowering the amount of animal protein and increasing the amount of potassium in an astronaut’s diet will affect bone metabolism in the microgravity environment aboard the station.
Smith also explained that the Nutrition experiment involves collecting blood and urine samples from the station crew members over the course of a typical six-month mission to study biochemical changes in their health.
He added that these studies are important because they help researchers understand how long-duration spaceflight affects an astronaut’s vision and health and that they can help them to lessen those effects, and they can lead to improved treatments for disease on Earth.
ISS Update: SpaceX Dragon Operations – 05.29.2012
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ISS Update commentator Kelly Humphries interviews Lead Integration and Systems Engineer, or ISE, Paul Brower in the International Space Station flight control room at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston. Brower talks about SpaceX Dragon operations as the spacecraft's unberthing approaches.
The job of the ISE is to communicate with visiting vehicle partners and understand the systems of visiting spacecraft and how they work with the International Space Station’s systems. “I kind of keep an eye on what their systems are doing and what our systems are doing and make sure that we can all play well together in space,” says Brower.
The SpaceX Dragon mission has had its own set of challenges – including problems with some computers, sensors, and other equipment on the spacecraft. There were also issues prior to the mission with the station’s Global Positioning System. However, Brower says, ways were found to overcome those challenges.
Brower also shared his thoughts on working with the SpaceX team. “A lot of their people were very much wearing many hats,” he said. Rather than the dedicated positions NASA flight controllers serve, many on the SpaceX team performed multiple jobs, for example both designing and helping manufacture hardware.