Longueuil, Quebec, February 7, 2008 – Advanced technology pioneered by the Canadian Space Agency will create a true microgravity environment and help support science experiments once Columbus, the European Space Agency's scientific laboratory, has been installed on the International Space Station (ISS).
But even before Columbus arrives on the Station, Expedition 16 Astronaut Dan Tani is putting a Canadian Space Science experiment through its paces. He is taking part in a medical experiment that will help scientists learn more about the long-term effects of living and working in the hostile environment of space.
MVIS: Taking the shakes out of space experiments
Tucked away inside the Columbus module is a Canadian-built container the size of a breadbox. Known as MVIS, short for Microgravity Vibration Isolation Subsystem, this advanced technology protects delicate experiments from the daily shakes and rattles aboard the Station. Using a magnetic field to correct the effects of vibrations, MVIS keeps science experiments free-floating much like an air-hockey table uses air jets to keep the puck gliding over its surface. The advanced technology deployed inside MVIS was developed by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) in collaboration with space industry partners.
CCISS: Studying the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems in astronauts
On February 4, 2008, astronaut Dan Tani completed the second on-orbit phase of the CCISS experiment Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Control on Return from the International Space Station. Led by University of Waterloo researcher Richard Hughson and sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency, CCISS examines the effects of long-duration spaceflight on astronauts' heart functions and the blood vessels to the brain. When he lands on Earth, Dan Tani will be greeted by Dr. Hughson's team for the post-flight part of the CCISS experiment.
Learning more about the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems could lead to countermeasures that may better protect future space travelers. It could also have everyday medical applications that could benefit elderly people who experience fainting spells, or people who suffer from heart diseases due to a sedentary lifestyle.
CSA Supporting STS-122
Working from Mission Control at the Headquarters of the Canadian Space Agency in Longueuil, Quebec, and from NASA's Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas, Canadian robotics controllers will monitor and activate the Mobile Servicing System, Canada's advanced space robotics contribution to the ISS. The CSA team will support the mission by powering up the space robotics systems and supervising robotic operations in space to ensure that the complex operations of the Canadarm2 go exactly as planned during all critical phases of the mission.
Canadian Technology Ensuring Safety of the Shuttle and Crew
Canadian-made robotics and advanced 3-D laser sensor technologies will also help ensure the safety of the crew and Shuttle. The Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS) – a Canadian-made 15-metre extension of the Shuttle's Canadarm – will work with Neptec's Canadian-made 3-D laser camera to help the crew examine the Shuttle for any sign of damage that could jeopardize the shuttle during re-entry.
About the Canadian Space Agency
Established in 1989, the CSA coordinates all civil space-related policies and programs on behalf of the Government of Canada. The CSA directs its resources and activities through four key thrusts: earth observation, space science and exploration, satellite communications, and space awareness and learning. By leveraging international cooperation, the CSA generates world-class scientific research and industrial development for the benefit of humanity.
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For more information, please contact:
Canadian Space Agency
Telephone: (450) 926-4370