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50 Astronauts to conduct 3 Spacewalks outside International Space Station (ISS) for future arrival of commercial crew Spacecraft

The spacewalkers also will install on the starboard zero truss a new computer relay box equipped with advanced software for the adapter

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Aerial View of NASA. Wikimedia

Washington, March 24, 2017: Starting Friday, Expedition 50 astronauts will conduct up to three spacewalks outside the International Space Station (ISS) to prepare for the future arrival of commercial crew spacecraft and upgrade station hardware, NASA said.

The second and third spacewalks are scheduled for March 30 and April 6.

The spacewalks will be the 198th, 199th and 200th in support of space station assembly and maintenance.

The first spacewalk will prepare the Pressurised Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) for installation of the second International Docking Adapter, which will accommodate commercial crew vehicle dockings, NASA said.

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The PMA-3 provides the pressurised interface between the station modules and the docking adapter.

Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) will disconnect cables and electrical connections on PMA-3 to prepare for its robotic move on March 26.

PMA-3 will be moved from the port side of the Tranquility module to the space-facing side of the Harmony module, where it will become home for the docking adapter, which will be delivered on a future flight of a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft.

The spacewalkers also will install on the starboard zero truss a new computer relay box equipped with advanced software for the adapter.

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The second spacewalk will feature Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA reconnecting cables and electrical connections on PMA-3 at its new home on top Harmony.

The final spacewalk will tentatively feature Whitson and Pesquet replacing an avionics box on the starboard truss called an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier, a storage platform, NASA said.

While Kimbrough’s two spacewalks will be the fifth and sixth of his career, Whitson will be making the eighth and ninth spacewalks of her career – more than any other female astronaut.

Pesquet will undertake the second and third spacewalks in his career. (IANS)

 

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NASA’S Twins Study Claims, Long-term Spaceflight Not Linked to Major Health Risks

"It's almost as if the body's on high alert," said Christopher Mason, Associate Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine.

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NASA
Spending nearly a year in orbit increased NASA astronaut Scott Kelly's immune system response, as if, at the cellular level, his body felt under attack as compared to his Earth-bound twin brother, the Washington Post reported on Friday. Pixabay

While it was previously thought that long duration spaceflight can affect the human body, even at the molecular level, new results from NASAs “Twins Study” has showed that there are no major warning signs and no reason to think humans cannot survive a two-and-a-half-year round-trip journey to Mars.

As part of the “Twins Study”, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly spent a year in space while Mark, his identical twin, stayed on Earth as a control subject to look at the effects of space travel on the human body.

Spending nearly a year in orbit increased NASA astronaut Scott Kelly’s immune system response, as if, at the cellular level, his body felt under attack as compared to his Earth-bound twin brother, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

NASA
According to report, the biggest concern is radiation as such a mission would expose astronauts to levels of radiation greater than permitted under current guidelines. That would not necessarily prevent a mission, but it remains a concern. Pixabay

These comparisons, however, has not raised any red flags about long-term spaceflight on the International Space Station (ISS), NASA officials were quoted as saying at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science here.

“It’s almost as if the body’s on high alert,” said Christopher Mason, Associate Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine.

The space sojourn also changed the activity of some of his genes.

“It’s mostly really good news,” Mason said, adding, “the body has extraordinary plasticity and adaptation to being in zero gravity, at least for a year”.

NASA
“It’s almost as if the body’s on high alert,” said Christopher Mason, Associate Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine. Pixabay

According to Craig Kundrot, Director of NASA’s space life and physical sciences division, so far the space agency’s research found nothing that would make a Mars mission impossible.

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According to report, the biggest concern is radiation as such a mission would expose astronauts to levels of radiation greater than permitted under current guidelines. That would not necessarily prevent a mission, but it remains a concern.

However, Kundrot cautioned that the twin study has only two people as samples. “We don’t regard any of this as conclusive, but on the whole it’s encouraging,” he said, adding, “there are no new major warning signs”. (IANS)