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Chronicles from Concordia

How to fly a spacecraft

3 Jan 2016, 01:38 UTC
How to fly a spacecraft
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA-F. van den Berg
ESA-sponsored medical doctor in Antarctica Floris van den Berg recounts his training on one of the more exciting experiments -- spaceflight training...
On November 6th, 1985, Wubbo Ockels safely landed with the Challenger Space Shuttle at Edwards Air Force Base in California. He spent over a week in space with seven other astronauts, and preformed over 60 experiments, mostly related to microgravity. One of his crewmembers for the mission was the German astronaut Ernst Messerschmid.
Almost 30 years later, I meet Prof. Ernst Messerschmid at the Institute for Space Travel Systems at the University of Stuttgart, Germany. Though retired as an astronaut, he still dedicates his life to science -- space science to be exact! Messerschmid is the head researcher of the SIMSKILL project. The SIMSKILL experiment will study the piloting skill maintenance during an overwinter stay in an isolated versus non-isolated environment, and looks at the effect of in-flight simulator training to counteract potential degradation.
When we go to Mars for the first time (or any other planet), astronauts will have to spend quite some time in space. The concern is that in an isolated, small spaceship, with low oxygen levels, motor skills ...

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