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Ground control activities

Kacena Lab Ground Crew

Written by Melissa Kacena

Our Earth-based control studies are delayed by two hours so that we can mimic everything done in spaceflight. We even incorporate ground-based “astronauts” to perform the activities. These are NASA personnel who have limited familiarity with the hardware, which is more similar to the astronauts on the space station than using a professional scientist/engineer who is experienced with the hardware.

After observing International Space Station crew operations, we can then give the ground astronauts an exact timeline so they can replicate the procedure exactly as performed in space. For example, the first media feeding on ISS took 39 minutes and the second 29 minutes. Each of these was then identically mimicked at Kennedy Space Center.

My job is to observe both the ISS astronauts and the ground-based astronauts and provide any feedback as required. So far both sets of astronauts are doing a great job. Thank you all!

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Caitlin VanOverberghe

Caitlin VanOverberghe is a communications coordinator for the Indiana University School of Medicine, where she supports the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Department of Ophthalmology. Having earned degrees in journalism and telecommunications ...