Washington, DC, USA (June 3rd, 2021): Virgin Galactic has announced a new contract to fly International Institute of Astronautical Sciences (IIAS) researcher Kellie Gerardi on a test flight of the company’s spaceflight system, during which Kellie will conduct experiments and test new healthcare technologies (including the Astroskin Bio-Monitor) while she's in space.
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The purpose of the research mission is to demonstrate and advance novel scientific research benefits and applications that the spaceflight system provides for human-tended payloads.
The mission will also demonstrate the potential of conducting human research in suborbital flight, building on the research and knowledge gained from a number of Kellie’s reduced gravity flight campaigns performed here on Earth, including with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
Virgin Galactic will be able to provide new benefits to the space science research community in the form of repeatability, affordability and quality of the weightless environment which have historically been barriers for many wanting to conduct human spaceflight research.
During the spaceflight, following the shutdown of the rocket motor, Kellie will unbuckle from her seat and undertake the actions necessary to complete each experiment during several minutes of weightlessness. Virgin Galactic will provide training and preparation so that she is fully equipped to carry out her job as mission specialist on this flight and provide on-site pre-flight support for each of the payload experiments.
Working with IIAS, NRC and CSA, Kellie has already operated each payload in reduced gravity flights and will be bringing that unique payload specialist experience to the research mission. The payloads will include bio-monitoring instrumentation, including the Astroskin Bio-Monitor wearable sensors system, developed by Hexoskin with the support of the Canadian Space Agency, that will measure the biological effects of launch, weightlessness, re-entry, and landing on spaceflight participants.
The Astroskin Bio-Monitor has been in operation in the International Space Station since 2019 and is used by space agencies (CSA, NASA, ESA), to monitor astronauts' vital signs in orbit. The Astroskin is also used on Earth by researchers of 5 continents for clinical research applications.
“This historic flight will demonstrate the role private space companies can play to advance our knowledge of human physiology in space, to prepare for future missions to the Moon and beyond” said Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, CEO and co-founder of Hexoskin. “Many private space companies are planning to use the Astroskin system for astronaut training and during spaceflight, because it’s already in operation in the International Space Station.”
For more information about Hexoskin's involvement in this test flight or the Astroskin wearable vital signs sensor system, please contact us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone at 1-888-887-2044.