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ISS Update: Interviews (July 30-Aug. 3, 2012)
 
Interviews: International Space Station Update

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ISS Update: Research and Technology Studies (Part 1) -- 08.03.12
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ISS Update commentator Brandi Dean interviews James Johnson, Research and Technology Studies (RATS) Test Director, at Johnson Space Center's Space Vehicle Mockup Facility about an upcoming team simulation to work out concepts for how humans will explore an asteroid.

Test controllers are ramping up for a 10-day test by checking communications systems, data systems and training the crew in simulated exploration vehicles.

The test seeks to mature and advance new and developing technologies through real-time mission simulations. The simulations also help controllers determine the number of crew members to explore an asteroid surface and live and work in a deep space habitat.

Questions? Ask us on Twitter @NASA_Johnson and include the hashtag #askStation.




ISS Update: Research and Technology Studies (Part 2) -- 08.03.12
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ISS Update commentator Brandi Dean interviews Steve Rader, Research and Technology Studies (RATS) Data Manager, at Johnson Space Center’s Space Vehicle Mockup Facility about communication delays that would take place during deep space missions. Simulations help crews and ground controllers understand the best tools and ways to facilitate communications during events such as emergencies.

During a mission to an asteroid a crew and ground controllers would have to learn to operate with a 50-second communications delay. This includes not just humans communicating, but also computers sending data back and forth between the various control centers and the exploration vehicle.

Test controllers are using simulated missions to study crew autonomy and the interactions of the crew with the ground. Without the ability to conduct a normal air-to-ground conversation, texting is a possibility that controllers are looking into since it is a familiar, asynchronous communication technique.

Questions? Ask us on Twitter @NASA_Johnson and include the hashtag #askStation.




ISS Update: Zero Gravity Suit Tests (Part 1) – 08.02.12
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ISS Update commentator Brandi Dean interviews Phillip Hooper, Crew Survival Team member, at Ellington Field about the modified Advanced Crew Escape Suit (ACES) being designed for the Orion program.

The modified ACES still looks similar to the space shuttle launch and entry suit – the original ACES – yet operates differently. Unlike the shuttle suit which vented carbon dioxide into the environment, the modified ACES is a closed loop system and scrubs the carbon dioxide inside saving resources.

For the Orion program, engineers are looking to increase the mobility of the suit when ingressing the capsule and seat. The suit is meant to protect an astronaut during launch and return to Earth, as well as in the event of a loss of pressure.

Questions? Ask us on Twitter @NASA_Johnson and include the hashtag #askStation.




ISS Update: Zero Gravity Suit Tests (Part 2) – 08.02.12
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ISS Update commentator Brandi Dean interviews Dustin Gohmert, Crew Survival Team Lead, at Ellington Field about the zero gravity test flights going on this week for the modified Advanced Crew Escape Suit (ACES).

The seats in Orion will be adjustable to a wide range of heights to sit comfortably at the controls. However, adjusting the seat in a bulky spacesuit can be a challenge. To test how well crew would be able to do so – as well as how much movement the suit allowed, in general – the team conducted tests in simulated microgravity.

In an airplane that flew in a trajectory that simulated moments without gravity, engineers tested climbing into the seat and adjusting it, while in the modified ACES.

Questions? Ask us on Twitter @NASA_Johnson and include the hashtag #askStation.




ISS Update: Food Technology on a Mission to Mars – 08.01.12
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ISS Update commentator Pat Ryan interviews Michele Perchonok, Advanced Food Technology Program Scientist, about developing food for a human crew on a mission to Mars.

Perchonok says that she helps to develop two types of packaged food for space missions. The first type has a typical shelf life of about 18 months, which they currently use on the International Space Station. The second type of food needs to last about five years to be suitable to bring on a Mars mission.

Once on the surface of Mars, she mentions that the crew would need a bioregenative food system, which is the growing of a variety of fruits and vegetables in hydroponic environmental chambers.

She also discusses the logistics involved with planning and packing enough food for a human crew’s mission to Mars, as well as the nutritional needs of the crew.

Questions? Ask us on Twitter @NASA_Johnson and include the hashtag #askStation.




ISS Update: Progress 48 Launch and Docking – 08.01.12
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ISS Update commentator Pat Ryan interviews Dina Contella, Expedition 32 Lead Flight Director, about the details of the ISS Progress 48 cargo craft launch and docking.

The unpiloted Russian resupply craft launched Wednesday, August 1, at 3:35 p.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a novel four-orbit, six-hour expedited transit to the station.

Contella discusses the details of the Progress launch and the modified rendezvous plan, which is a test designed to reduce the typical two-day flight to the station. If applied to the crewed Soyuz vehicles, this would increase crew comfort and provide for additional contingency time at the end of the spacecraft’s mission.

Questions? Ask us on Twitter @NASA_Johnson and include the hashtag #askStation.




ISS Update: Mars Science Laboratory – 07.31.12
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ISS Update commentator Pat Ryan interviews Dr. Doug Archer of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Science Team about the MSL mission, the Curiosity Rover and the SAM instrument.

Curiosity, the car-size, one-ton rover is bound for arrival on Mars at 1:31 a.m., EDT on Monday, Aug. 6. The landing will mark the beginning of a two-year prime mission to investigate one of the most intriguing places on Mars.

Archer discusses SAM, which will analyze samples of material collected and delivered by the rover’s arm. It includes a gas chromatograph, a mass spectrometer, and a tunable laser spectrometer with combined capabilities to identify a wide range of organic (carbon-containing) compounds and determine the ratios of different isotopes of key elements. Isotope ratios are clues to understanding the history of Mars’ atmosphere and water.

Questions? Ask us on Twitter @NASA_Johnson and include the hashtag #askStation. Questions? Ask us on Twitter @NASA_Johnson and include the hashtag #askStation.