From: Space Adventures
Posted: Sunday, April 1, 2007
Vienna, Va. – March 29, 2007 -- Space Adventures, Ltd., the world's leading space experiences company, announced today that Charles Simonyi, Ph.D., will contribute to the performance of research and development activities for the European Space Agency (ESA) during his 10-day stay onboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Dr. Simonyi is scheduled to launch on April 7 onboard a Soyuz TMA spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan en route to the ISS. He will be joining the Expedition 15 crew which includes Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov.
"One of my mission goals was to assist with space station research, and I hope my contribution to ESA's R&D program implementation will help advance our understanding of the health effects of spaceflight," said Dr. Simonyi.
"Space travel is of critical importance to our future," said Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures. "Through Charles' participation in the ESA experiments, he will be making an important contribution to the future of human permanence in space."
In an agreement with ESA Directorate of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration, Dr. Simonyi will act as a test subject for a research program which has been designed by ESA, in collaboration with a number of universities, institutes of research and companies, to study the response of the human body to the microgravity environment aboard the space station and to cast light on common conditions that cause pain and discomfort to millions of citizens throughout the world.
The first experiment, called Neocytolysis, has been designed to better understand the mechanisms behind anaemia. In space, the blood which is normally held in the body's extremities by gravity shifts and causes high red cell density in blood vessels. This induces a response, which aims at resetting the mass of red blood cells by means of their selective destruction, in turn causing temporary anaemia in astronauts upon their return to Earth. While considered a natural process for astronauts due to their specific environmental condition, this experiment should assist in determining the cause of anaemia as a result of other pathological conditions and will contribute to the development of solutions for this serious condition.
The second experiment aims to understand how changes in muscles influence lower back pain. In astronauts, this pain is probably due to the atrophication during weightlessness of a deep muscle corset which maintains posture on Earth. This leads to ligament strain, which may in turn cause lower back pain. Understanding this process will provide critical data to help better understand and thus treat this condition.
The Chromosome-2 experiment is designed to better understand the effects of space radiation on ISS crew members, specifically changes that may occur in white blood cells. The results of this study will enable scientists to assess the implications for human space inhabitancy and to optimize radiation shielding for future space exploration missions.
With the Sample experiment, Dr. Simonyi will assist in collecting more data to detect and record the different species of microbes that have made a home for themselves on the ISS. The study will reveal how microbial populations are affected by spaceflight, and show if and how their genetic mutation rate has been affected by the special conditions in orbit.
Dr. Simonyi speaks candidly about these experiments and other activities on his Web site www.charlesinspace.com. Through this rich-media site, Dr. Simonyi personally chronicles his mission with photos and video of his training, in-depth blogs, and an "Ask Charles" section where he answers questions posed by visitors to the site. Additionally, a special section called "Kids' Space" is a place where children can learn about space and Dr. Simonyi's adventure, and even earn an official "Charles in Space Certificate of Achievement".
To learn more about ESA and its R&D program on the ISS, please visit its Web site at www.esa.int/spaceflight.
Space Adventures, the only company to have successfully launched private explorers to space, is headquartered in Vienna, Va. with offices in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Moscow and Tokyo. It offers a variety of programs such as the availability today for spaceflight missions to the International Space Station and around the moon, Zero-Gravity flights, cosmonaut training, spaceflight qualification programs and reservations on future suborbital spacecrafts. The company's advisory board includes Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, Shuttle astronauts Sam Durrance, Tom Jones, Byron Lichtenberg, Norm Thagard, Kathy Thornton, Pierre Thuot, Charles Walker, Skylab astronaut Owen Garriott and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Usachev. For more information, please visit www.spaceadventures.com.
Space Adventures, Ltd.
8000 Towers Crescent Drive, Ste. 1000
Vienna, Va. 22182
+1 703 894-2186
Fax +1 703 524-7176
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