Posted: Sunday, September 17, 2006
Mission: September, 2006 Saturation
An intense training week for the 11th NEEMO mission has concluded successfully with our crewmembers graduating from "Aquanaut Candidate" status to being officially signed off to start the mission on Saturday September 16 aboard Aquarius, the only operational undersea research habitat in the world. Veteran space flyer astronaut Sandra H. Magnus will lead the crew on a seven-day undersea mission Sept. 16 - 22 onboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Aquarius underwater laboratory. Army Lt. Col. Timothy L. Kopra, Army Col. Timothy J. Creamer and Air Force Maj. Robert L. Behnken round out the astronaut crew. Roger Garcia and Larry Ward of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington will provide engineering support inside the habitat. All four astronauts are training for possible assignment to missions to the International Space Station. Roger and Larry will operate the Aquarius habitat and oversee safety during the mission.
NEEMO 11 is sponsored by the Constellation Program at NASA. The Constellation Program is responsible for taking NASA back to the Moon and on to Mars. The primary objectives support investigating facets of operations critical to returning to the lunar surface. We will use undersea extravehicular activities imitating moonwalks to test concepts for mobility, while using weighted backpacks to simulate lunar gravity. Techniques for communication, navigation, surveying, construction, geological sample collection and using remote-controlled robots on the lunar surface also will be investigated. Finally, there will be a full suite of Educational Outreach events and Public Affairs Office events on the timeline. Through NASA's Digital Learning Network (DLN), classrooms will be able to videoconference with Aquarius. Students will conduct experiments of their own before talking with the aquanauts.
The NEEMO Project Lead is Bill Todd, and supporting him again on this mission are Monika Schultz, Dan Sedej, Alex Moore and Kevin Rullman. We're fortunate to also have the help of Karl Shreeves again, who joins us from PADI (the Professional Association of Diving Instructors). Karl has been helping support NEEMO missions since NEEMO 1, and we owe a special debt of gratitude to him and PADI for helping us get where we are today. Marc Reagan will once again serve as the Mission Director for this mission.
Thanks for joining us!
- NEEMO 11 Topside Team
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