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ESA’s European Astronaut Center (EAC) was the goal of a visit by a PolAres delegation. It is the central piece of manned european space travel: since the early nineties, both astronauts training takes place here as well as operational care during missions is performed from the EAC. A report of this fascinating and productive visit.
Frits de Jong (Crew Medical Support Office, CMSO) and his team welcomed the eight members of the space forum with several presentations where the work done at the centre in cologne (especially the medical operations departement) was portrayed. “We talked for about three hours about operative aspects of space travel,” resumes Martin Knoflach (PolAres Operations Office) “and also presented our own work in much detail. Interestingly the way how the inclusion of external research teams – we call them Remote Science Support – is performed has many similarities.”
After the talks the flight control consoles were shown to the space forum group by the CMSO-team. Current imaging and telemetric data from the International Space Station are transmitted to this station. The most important software-tools and console-appliances were all part of this detailed view behind the scenes of ESA. Reports from everyday working live at this console were also given.
“A highlight was definetively the visit of the astronaut trainingscentre at the EAC,” mentions Götz Nordmeyer (PolAres Medical Operations), “where we got a detailed guided tour of the Sojus-trainer, the Columbus module and also the Neutral Buoancy Facility, or the diving pool of the EAC.”
Also Gernot Grömer was very pleased with this visit – it was an intimate view into the the work of CMSO where the space forum could learn a lot, but also interest in the work done by the forum could be raised. The possibility of directly transfering telemetric data during the Rio Tinto-expedition in April 2011 was discussed in order to enable CMSO team members to look into the work of the field team and MCC.
A short meeting with Henning Krause of the german centre for Air- and Space Travel concluded the visit. Olivia Haider, representing the PolAres Mediateam, used this occasion to discuss Social media activities in space flight.
This article is available in: German