Astronauts speak out about upcoming mission

NASA astronaut Scott Tingle and crewmates Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Norishege Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) talked about their upcoming mission to the International Space Station.

Tingle, Shkaplerov and Kanai will launch to the space station aboard the Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft on Dec. 17 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They will join the station’s Expedition 54 crew, and return to Earth in April 2018 as members of Expedition 55.

During a planned four-month mission, the station crew members will take part in about 250 research investigations and technology demonstrations not possible on Earth in order to advance scientific knowledge of Earth, space, physical and biological sciences.

“Some of the specific human research that I’ll be working include a look at the spine. When we get into orbit, into space, our spines extend a little bit,” said Tingle. “We also take a lot of blood, a lot of urine, a lot of fluids to try to see what’s going on within humans when they get into space.”

Science conducted on the space station continues to yield benefits for humanity and will enable future long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space, including missions past the Moon and Mars.

“We’ll be looking at things like combustion and fluids and some other robotics things going on through spheres, that program. I’m actually fairly excited to see the spheres work, and that will also be part of our educational outreach program. Watching those things fly around the station is pretty cool,” said Tingle.

This will be the first spaceflight for Tingle.

A U.S. Navy captain, Tingle grew up in Randolph, Massachusetts, and earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Southeastern Massachusetts University in Dartmouth, now the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and a Master of Science in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Following graduate school, Tingle spent three years with the Aerospace Corp., in El Segundo, California, as a technical staff member in its Propulsion Department. He was commissioned as a U.S. Navy officer in 1991, and accumulated more than 4,500 flight hours in 51 types of aircraft, 750 carrier arrestments and 54 combat missions. Tingle was selected in July 2009 as one of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class. His training included scientific and technical briefings; intensive instruction in space station systems; spacewalks; robotics; physiological training; T-38 flight training; and water and wilderness survival training.

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