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The Beyond mission

The Beyond mission


Italian ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano is about to make his second flight to the
International Space Station He’ll shortly be lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan inside a Russian Soyuz capsule The mission is named ‘Beyond’ and, as chance would have it will begin exactly 50 years after the first
Moon landing I doubt our Russian colleagues were looking at the calendar when they picked
the 20th of July for our launch just the alignment of the Space Station and
launch site coincide with the best time for us to launch and we join in just four orbits It’s a very nice coincidence and probably the best way to celebrate the
Moon landing is with my own launch inside the Soyuz Luca has been through many months of training with the Space Station’s international partners to prepare for the mission Although he’s considered a spaceflight veteran and will become the third ever European Space
Station Commander in October there have been many changes in orbit since
his last flight and a multitude of new skills to learn. People might think that because it’s my second flight things are just the same but as a matter of fact it couldn’t be more far from the truth Nothing of what had become my daily life in 2013 during the mission Volare is available now so to me it’s a completely new mission where the science is different the tasks are going to be completely different As an experienced spacewalker who has already overcome considerable challenges in orbit it is foreseen that Luca will venture outside
the Station to service the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer This instrument which is a particle physics experiment module was never designed to be repaired in orbit Extending its life will be a long and difficult procedure one which Luca has trained extensively for We are planning to perform about 3 to 5 EVAs just for the AMS There will be some set-up and then we will get into the thick of it cutting tubes and swaging them and then closing everything up and cleaning up the location Onboard the Space Station Luca will act as Flight Engineer carrying out daily maintenance tasks to ensure that the Station’s various systems
run smoothly He’ll also act as the eyes and ears of research scientists back on Earth running unique experiments that take advantage of the microgravity environment inside ESA’s Columbus laboratory Some of the experiments that I’m really looking forward to have me
as the test subject Most of them have to do with human physiology Now these experiments to me are interesting Because although they help us learn how human physiology changes in space these experiments have actually a direct return
also on Earth When Luca returns to Earth in early 2020 he will have spent a year of his life in orbit over the course of two missions As well as ensuring the continued operation
of the Space Station he’ll have made a considerable contribution to ESA’s experience of human spaceflight. Ultimately long-duration missions such as this one will allow Europe’s space industry to build upon the legacy of Apollo working with international partners to return to the Moon, and beyond.

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