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NASA Ames Scientists to Preview Upcoming Space Station Experiments

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Date: Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Location: Houston, TX US,

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- Engineers and project scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center are prepping their experiments and payloads for the upcoming International Space Station Expedition 32 and 33 missions. Experts supporting experiments to study fundamental space biology, human-robotic interaction and cubesats, will be available for interviews Tuesday, March 20, 2012. This availability follows two briefings to preview the missions from NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, that will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency's website.

The Micro-6 project will investigate the response of the C. albicans fungus to simulated microgravity to predict the potential health risk posed by this opportunistic pathogen in the spaceflight environment. Future Micro-6 experiments will study the way a variety of biological species respond to gravity.

The space station currently houses three volleyball-sized, free-flying satellites called Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) equipped with a Nexus(TM) S handset made by Samsung Electronics and powered by Google's Android(TM) platform. The Intelligent Robotics Group at Ames will remotely control the SPHERES from the Mission Control Center at Johnson to simulate a mobile inspection of the station and test how well SPHERES can move around and collect data using the smart phone's camera and sensors.

The TechEdSat is a collaboration between Ames, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and San Jose State University, and will be the first mission to launch a cubesat into orbit from the space station.

The Ames researchers available for interviews include:

- Craig Burkhard, Micro-6 project advisor - Terry Fong, director of the Intelligent Robotics Group - Andres Martinez, program manager, Small Spacecraft Payloads and Technologies

News media interested in arranging an interview should contact Rachel Hoover at 650-604-4789 by 4 p.m. PDT, Monday, March 19, 2012. To remotely participate in the briefings at Johnson by phone or request interviews with crew members, media representatives must call the Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111.

For more information about the briefings at Johnson, visit: http://go.usa.gov/ECX

For NASA TV streaming video, schedule and downlink information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

For more information about the International Space Station and its crew, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station

Web Site Address: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

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