Vita mission: final stages of training for Paolo Nespoli
Paolo Nespoli’s training for the Vita space mission of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) has entered its final phase.
The launch of the mission that will take Nespoli, an astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA), to the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for 28 July 2017. In view of the launch, AstroPaolo is about to conclude an important training period at the ESA European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, in preparation for the mission, as announced by ASI. His days, closely filmed by an Omnia Gold Production crew, will be the focus of a documentary that will be presented at the next Venice Film Festival.
Onboard the International Space Station, orbiting at 400 km above the Earth’s surface, the Italian astronaut, and colleagues from other countries, will be carrying out a large number of experiments, 13 of which are Italian. This is not AstroPaolo’s first experience onboard the ISS. Nespoli has been the first Italian astronaut to take part in a long duration mission in space.
Talking about his preparation for the new mission, the astronaut told ASI: “It’s been a very intense year and the next two months before the launch are going to be even more challenging. I’m going back to the Space Station and I'm full of adrenaline, ready to do a good job. We’ll be carrying out more than 200 experiments onboard and many of these experiments are biomedical”.
A good part of the training, conducted under the supervision of trainers and programme directors, is devoted to the 13 Italian experiments, 9 selected by ASI. The In-Situ Bioanalysis experiment, under the responsibility of the University of Bologna, focuses on the measurement of cortisol levels as a stress biomarker. Orthostatic Tolerance, developed by the IRCCS San Raffaele Pisana, aims at developing exercises against health issues associated with space flights, such as orthostatic intolerance. Finally, the ARAMIS experiment will test an augmented reality technology aimed to increase human sensory perception and optimize “man time” required to run on board activities.
As Nespoli highlighted, medicine is a main focus of the mission. Experiments with applications in this field include: NANOROS of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), which aims to combat the onset of free radicals in some muscular cell cultures; CORM, of the University of Florence, which aims at verifying the efficacy of Coenzyme Q10 in inhibiting retina damage caused by microgravity and cosmic radiations; SERISM, conducted by the Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome, which will verify the role of new bioactive lipids in bone metabolism alteration; MyoGravity, under the responsibility of the University G. d’Annunzio of Chieti-Pescara, which aims at investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying microgravity-induced muscular atrophy in astronauts.