NASA will be more demanding about private astronauts

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The few hiccups on the private Ax-1 mission gave NASA teams something to think about. Last April, four rather special astronauts boarded a rocket to mark a major milestone: they became the first all-civilian crew to reach the ISS. Overall, the mission went pretty well. However, a few minor hiccups have confronted the project’s actors with a harsh reality: becoming an astronaut cannot be improvised, even in the era of New Space. And NASA has learned the necessary lessons. A veteran will have to be part of the trip. The first of these lessons concerns crew qualification. If the mission went well, it is largely thanks to the supervision of Michael López-Alegría, a former astronaut now retired. His expertise was invaluable in reassuring and guiding his fellow missioners, all newbies, through this unique experience. NASA now estimates that every civilian mission will need to carry such a veteran. The person concerned will systematically inherit the role of captain, which will give them some additional responsibilities, but relieve the rest of the crew. The ISS is also starting to open up to private astronauts, but this transition involves changes in methodology at NASA. © NASA A planning process redesigned from the top down NASA will also rethink its mission planning after the organizational difficulties encountered by these neophytes. Even if they were civilians, these new astronauts were not vacationers. They boarded the station with an agenda full of science experiments. On their return, they explained that they had underestimated the magnitude of their very busy schedule. At first, this prevented them from completing their program as planned. But above all, this situation also put considerable pressure on the professional astronauts who had to make some concessions to the newcomers. “The arrival of Axiom personnel appears to have had a greater than expected impact on the workload of the professional ISS crew,” explained Susan Helms, a former astronaut who is now a member of a security committee. Result: future civilian astronauts will have to submit their work projects at least one year before the launch date. NASA will therefore have a lot of time to study the relevance and feasibility of the mission; this will allow future civilian astronauts to not be overwhelmed by the magnitude of their task. More demanding physical preparation Finally, NASA also aims to emphasize a fundamental point that was again underestimated last April: acclimatization to microgravity. “We went up there and, the least we can say, is that we were overwhelmed”, said one of them. “Getting used to microgravity is not something that happens overnight. Therefore, the participants will have to undergo more demanding physical preparation. Peggy Whitson, a first-class astronaut who already has her reserved place in the NASA Hall of Fame, will accompany the next Axiom mission. © NASA She poses here with French astronaut Thomas Pesquet aboard the ISS. © NASA Most of these new measures will likely be put into departs on Axiom’s second private trip to the ISS This mission called Ax-2 has hit the jackpot anyway as it will be commanded by Peggy Whitson She is an essential figure at NASA 665 days have passed of missions in space! And as if this record wasn’t enough, her resume also includes more than 60 hours of spacewalking in a space suit and a number of other prestigious records. She is also known for her uncompromising professionalism , but also for his enthusiasm, his humanity and his skills teachers So it will be interesting to follow the progress of this mission to see if this new organization will yield better results.
#NASA #demanding #private #astronauts

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