NASA's 'COLBERT' Supplied by Wyle Is Designed to Minimize House Calls
NASA's newest piece of astronaut fitness gear headed for the International Space Station, the COLBERT, is perfect for a facility that wants to avoid too many house calls for repairs.
The COLBERT is designed to go up to 150,000 miles without a belt change.
"The COLBERT represents the integrated efforts of our best engineers and scientists to deliver a highly reliable and very critical piece of flight hardware," said Jim Kukla, a group vice president at Wyle, the NASA contractor that has taken a commercial-off-the-shelf treadmill and modified it to meet spaceflight standards.
In development for more than two years, the COLBERT is scheduled to be flown to the International Space Station later this year.
Earlier this week, astronaut Sunita L. Williams, appearing on "The Colbert Report" on cable TV network Comedy Central, said NASA will name the new module Tranquility, instead of Colbert as he and his fans demanded after winning an online poll conducted by NASA.
Instead, NASA said it will christen its new exercise treadmill the Combined Operational Load-Bearing External Resistance Treadmill, aka, the COLBERT in government speak.
The International Space Station Program is planning to begin six-person operations later this year. The COLBERT is a critical countermeasure device designed to maintain crew health while on-orbit and prepare them for return to Earth. The treadmill will be housed in an "international standard payload rack" and deployed from the rack each time a crewmember uses the treadmill for exercise.
The overall approach for the COLBERT project is to utilize as much existing NASA program hardware as possible and couple it with an existing, commercially available high reliability treadmill. The treadmill and supporting subsystems (power, avionics, cooling, etc.) will be housed in an International Standard Payloads Rack and the vibration isolation system will be a modified Passive Rack Isolation System. The entire assembly is planned to be housed in the Node 2, and will then be moved to Node 3 ("Tranquility") upon its arrival to the International Space Station.
Development of the COLBERT is being completed by Wyle at its Houston operations where it has supported the nation's space program for more than 40 years. It is based on an athletic treadmill produced by Woodway, one of the leading providers of athletic and medical treadmills.
Wyle is the prime contractor on two premier NASA Johnson Space Center contracts. Under the Bioastronautics Contract, Wyle provides medical operations, ground and flight research, space flight hardware development and fabrication, science and mission integration for flight, and habitability and environmental factors in support of the Space Shuttle, International Space Station, Constellation and Human Research programs. Under the Occupational Medicine Occupational Health contract, Wyle provides clinical and occupational health care for NASA personnel and the astronaut corps.
Wyle, a privately held company, is a leading provider of high tech aerospace engineering and information technology services to the federal government on long-term outsourcing contracts. The company also provides life sciences services for NASA's astronaut corps as well as mission critical support services and space simulation; test and evaluation of aircraft, weapon systems, networks, and other government assets; and other engineering services to the aerospace, defense, nuclear power, communications and transportation industries.