Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Nespoli focuses on complex mission

Later this year ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli will serve as Mission Specialist on the STS-120 mission to the International Space Station. Together with the rest of the Shuttle crew, Nespoli is training intensively ahead of this complex ISS assembly mission.

For the 11-day mission, Nespoli joins six NASA astronauts on board Space Shuttle Atlantis. His flight opportunity arises from the Memorandum of Understanding between the Italian space agency, ASI, and NASA for the supply to NASA of three pressurised Multi-Purpose Logistic Modules (MPLM).

As well as exchanging a member of the Station's permanent crew, and the challenging operation of repositioning a set of solar arrays, the STS-120 crew is responsible for the safe delivery of the Node 2 connecting module - an important step in the continued construction of the International Space Station.

The arrival of the cylindrical Node 2 module, which will be attached to the end of US Destiny laboratory, paves the way for the addition of the European Columbus laboratory and the Japanese Kibo laboratory later in the year.

The crew started mission specific training for this complex assignment in August last year. "We train together for some tasks, such as the rendezvous with the Space Station and operating the robotic arms during the spacewalks. I am also doing a lot of training with the simulators to be able to do my tasks according to the required standards," explains Nespoli. "The training is becoming more and more demanding. I normally start at 7 in the morning and finish at 7 or 8 o'clock in the evening. It's fairly intense!"

Besides carrying out a joint ESA/ASI programme of scientific experiments, PR and educational activities, in his role as Mission Specialist, Nespoli will help with maintaining and handling the on board systems of the spacecraft.

During the inspection of the Shuttle's heat resistant tiles following the launch, he will be at the controls of the robotic arm. He will also be part of the team to perform the approach and docking with the Space Station.

Nespoli will coordinate activities from inside the Shuttle during three spacewalks – he will direct the spacewalkers, coordinating both with the ground and with the Shuttle and Station robotic arm operators. As the mission draws to a close, Nespoli will take part in Shuttle undocking activities, and for the re-entry he will be sat in the Flight Deck as Mission Specialist 1.

Nespoli's mission, which will be jointly managed by ESA and ASI, will be his first visit to space. A member of the European Astronaut Corps since 1998, he naturally looks forward to finally fulfilling a dream. "I will reach a goal I have been working on for many many years, so I am looking forward to experiencing this personally," says Nespoli.

"I am also looking to contribute to the crew and to the mission. To essentially complete the tasks that have been assigned to us. I feel the responsibility of bringing Node 2 into orbit. This is a complex task and I will try to concentrate to be at my best."

Paolo Nespoli presented his mission at a press conference earlier today at the Italian space agency, ASI, premises in Rome, Italy. STS-120 is scheduled for launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida, in the autumn.

Node 2 was developed for NASA under an ESA contract with European industry, with Alcatel-Alenia Space as the prime contractor. Responsibility for Node 2 development was assigned to the Italian space agency, ASI.

Franca Morgia | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie

nachricht Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>