It will be completely different for any astronauts than they were before the 2020 astronauts, a panel of astronauts told the Virtual International Astronautical Congress Wednesday (October 14).
The environment of the spaceflight is changing rapidly due to many different factors. The International Space Station (ISS) is putting more emphasis in commercialization and will soon welcome more and more large space agency employees on commercial driverless vehicles while bringing in some private astronauts.
Meanwhile, NASA and its international partners are preparing for the next phase of the manned spacecraft mission after the ISS, which they hope will join the moon landing in 2024 and the last astronaut trip to Mars. Also in the next few years, private companies such as Virgin Galactic, in a bid to open the space to more people other than commercial astronauts, expected to pay astronauts on sub-space flights.
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It is all a different environment when the ISS placed the first long-term crew in October 2000, 20 years earlier this month. Former NASA astronaut Cady Coleman said the demand for astronauts is changing and evolving rapidly as science advances.
“It was exciting to see [NASA astronaut] Kate Rubins launched eight hours earlier with her Russian crew, ”Coleman said, referring to the start of the expedition from Bakonur, Kazakhstan towards the International Space Station on 64 East Wednesday (October 14).
Rubins is known for being the first astronaut to sequence DNA in space, and he will pursue science even after his last excursion in 2016. Coleman said that during Rubins’ final mission, Rubin developed heart muscle cells, and you could see. The beating of cells under a microscope. In this mission, Rubin and the team of scientists on Earth will incubate small pieces of stress with gauges of tension to see what happens to the heart muscle while in space.
“I think about what has really happened in science in the 20 years on the space station,” said Coleman, who flew two spacecraft missions and 27 long-term mission missions. On one of his shuttle missions, STS-73, he said it was “how we prepare.” [were] Going to do science experiments on that space station. How will scientists view their data? What is practical? Is it not practical? What can astronauts do? What can scientists do? I am very proud of that work. ”
It is not only science that has changed; It is also a skill set of astronauts. The first generation of astronauts testing orbital missions and moon landings in the 1960s was largely drawn from military test pilots, while scientist-astronauts in the 1970s and 1980s in Apollo, Skylab, and space shuttle missions Was participating. Since then, we have mostly seen scientists and military-trained astronauts in space, although requirements continued to change over the decades.
Two-time European astronaut astronaut Pedro Duke, who visited the ISS in 1998 and 2003, said that during his busy years training as an astronaut, he found it difficult to imagine being anywhere else. But in 2018, he became the Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities for the Spanish Government and said that his astronaut skills are still helping him every day in this situation.
“I believe that you learn by working as an astronaut, and it is useful for many things in life,” he said. “You learn to work with very intelligent people and let them do their work as you do. You understand how you can be in a situation that people listen to you, but then you will learn how to use this intelligence How to do – or not. ” [you] Try to lead by example, and with conviction, and this is something that I have tried to use throughout my life, having been in all positions. “
NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold flew a spacecraft mission and a long-term mission 55 missions respectively in 2009 and 2018. It was an era when training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) became particularly important as astronauts learned more general “early behavior” for long-term missions, he said, rather than on some small specialized skills Focused.
The new change in astronaut training, he said, is being prepared for the proliferation of new spacecraft, including SpaceX’s crew Dragon, Boeing’s Starliner and NASA’s Orion spacecraft. It will connect the Russian Soyuz spacecraft that currently carries astronauts into space. “For four different vehicles you have the ability to figure out how to fly,” Arnold said, “and it will be interesting to see what the training team does to the next class of astronauts.”
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Michael López-Alegria said that this skill would change even more when astronauts flew three spacecraft missions and long-haul missions 14 in the 1990s and 2000s.
Lopez-Alegria flew with the first astronaut participant Anusheh Ansari and said he was impressed by his skill in blogging, a new idea when he went to space together on Soyuz in 2006. More new ideas will be forthcoming as different types of people make it. Space, he said.
“We’re entering a new realm, where you don’t have to be a professional astronaut to fly in space; this is the era of democratizing that access,” López-Alegria said. “It is very difficult right now, because the seats are few. As a result, they are quite expensive to go. But I am confident that these prices will come down, like [for aviation] In the 1920s and 1930s. Commercial aviation was the only thing accessible by the very, very rich. “
While Lopez-Alegria is retired from NASA, he is going back to the space station in another format. He joined Axiom Space as director of business development in 2017, working with a company that is building a private module for the space station as it dreams of building an independent space station in the near future is. According to Space.com Collectaspace, Lopez-Alegria is returning to the ISS on an Exome crew drone mission in 2021.
When pressed about who else would be on that mission during the panel discussion, Lopez-Alegria said that he “cannot confirm or deny what is really happening.” But he said that Axiom planned to fly a private mission in the fourth quarter of 2021, provided the company cleared with its contracts. He said, “By this time, we are not ready to discuss who the other crew members will be. But I can tell you that this is the first public-private commercial mission.”
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