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ISS Update: Interviews (Dec. 17-21, 2012)
Interviews: International Space Station Update

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ISS Update: How Canada and NASA Work Together to Support the Station -- 12.20.12
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NASA Public Affairs Officer Kelly Humphries interviews Tim Braithwaite, Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Liaison Office Manager. The CSA Liaison Office is a small office at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) and the manager works with the space station program to ensure the agencies are working and communicating effectively together.

Braithwaite is from Toronto, Ontario, and began his career as an engineer working on the International Space Station’s Mobile Servicing System. The multi-part robotics system moves gear and spacewalkers around the space station and services payloads.

He has worked at JSC since 1995 where he started as a robotics controller in Mission Control Center. Braithwaite joined the Liaison Office in 2005 supporting Canada’s efforts on the orbital laboratory. He will also support the station’s newest resident Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield who is joining Expedition 34. Hadfield will become Canada’s first station commander when Expedition 35 begins after Expedition 34 undocks.

Canada also has several experiments onboard the station. The liaison will be working with the experiment’s principal investigators and Hadfield while he’s on orbit performing science.

ISS Update: Plants in Space -- 12.19.12
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NASA Public Affairs Officer Kelly Humphries talks with Camille Alleyne, International Space Station Program Scientist, about the plant research taking place aboard the station. Dr. Anna-Lisa Paul, a research associate professor from the University of Florida, joins the conversation by phone to discuss one of those experiments: the Transgenic Arabidopsis Gene Expression System, or TAGES.

TAGES uses genetically engineered plants with reporter genes that "report" back on the various reactions of the plants by using sensors sensitive to the stresses of spaceflight. Changes in the plants can be monitored in real time while on orbit. The reporter genes are visualized as a green fluorescent glow by imaging systems built into the hardware carrying the experiment.

› University of Florida Video: Plant Growth in Outer Space

Plant research aboard the station has lead to a greater understanding of biological processes previously cloaked by gravity, and as researchers continue to gain new knowledge of how plants grow and develop at a molecular level, this insight also may lead to significant advances in agriculture production on Earth.

The ability of plants to provide a source of food and recycle carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen also may prove critical for astronauts as NASA sends humans deeper into space than ever before.

ISS Update: Integrating International Training for the Crew -- 12.17.12
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NASA Public Affairs Officer Kelly Humphries interviews Alicia Simpson, Expedition 34/35 Training Integrator, about organizing the international training required for station crew members. Station crews learn everything from Russian station systems, Canadian robotics to Japanese experiments.

Simpson works with the International Partners building a training plan that lasts about 2 ½ years for crew members. Expedition crews train all over the world in places such as Russia, America, Japan, Europe and Canada.

Simpson says that orbiting crew members often report back saying living and working in space is just like their training experiences. She works for United Space Alliance and has worked for both the shuttle and station programs.

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