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[b]First Second Generation Astronaut, Richard Garriott, to Perform Research while in Space in Cooperation with NASA[/b]
[i]Space Adventures' orbital spaceflight client will participate in scientific research developed by NASA investigators[/i]
Space Adventures, Ltd., the only company that provides human space missions to the world marketplace, announced today that their orbital spaceflight client, Richard Garriott, will participate in a suite of experiments in cooperation with NASA during his 10-day mission.
Mr. Garriott is scheduled to launch on October 12 onboard a Soyuz TMA spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan en route to the International Space Station (ISS). He will be joining the Expedition 18 crew which includes NASA astronaut Michael Fincke and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov.
"I am enthusiastic to participate in these experiments. As my father was a NASA astronaut, it seems fitting that I, as a private astronaut, also assist in their research as a continuation of my family's contribution to the space agency," said Richard Garriott.
"Space exploration is of critical importance to our future as a species," said Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures. "Through Richard's gracious participation in these NASA experiments, he will be making an important contribution to the future of human permanence in space."
Mr. Garriott will participate in three NASA experiments. The first experiment will study the current microgravity environment encountered by astronauts and how their eyes react to low and high pressure as well as variations in oxygen concentrations. Mr. Garriott will be the first space explorer to have had Photorefractive Keratectomy eye surgery, referred to as PRK. NASA has recently approved this procedures for their astronauts, but to date, none have been flown or have been selected who have had the procedure. NASA will examine his visual acuity, accommodation and refraction before, during and after spaceflight. There is reason to believe visual acuity might change on orbit, as inner eye pressure goes up by as much as 50 percent during spaceflights. This information will determine if an eye which has undergone a PRK procedure remains stable during a 10-day exposure to microgravity.
The second experiment will study the effects of spaceflight on the human immune system and validate monitoring tests for immune function in astronauts. The study will assess immunity during spaceflight by testing white blood cells for changes in function or response to stimulation as a consequence of spaceflight. This information may determine astronauts' clinical risk during spaceflight. Previous data collected suggests that there is indeed a suppression of the immune system associated with spaceflight. Mr. Garriott will be contributing to this data pool, and since his mission will come mid-mission for some other astronauts; he will be able to return fresh blood samples from long-duration crew members, which has rarely been able to be sampled.
The third study will document sleep/wake patterns and sleep characteristics of astronauts. Normal sleep patterns and body chemistry are notably changed during spaceflight. The data collected may assist in determining the efficacy of ongoing countermeasures for space-related sleep disturbances and may also assist in developing additional countermeasures which could potentially impact the health, productivity and safety of astronauts during spaceflight.
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