Virgin Galactic announces new contract with IIAS researcher for spaceflight

Space News

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Virgin Galactic has announced a new contract that will allow the company to fly a researcher on a dedicated flight to conduct experiments and test new healthcare technologies. In a press release, Virgin Galactic states the contract with International Institute for Astronautical Sciences researcher Kellie Gerardi will allow IIAS and Virgin Galactic to collaborate with government and academic partners and plan Gerardi’s flight activities which will allow both organizations to maximize science and technology advancements from the research experiments.

During the spaceflight, Virgin Galactic explains that Gerardi will unbuckle her seat to perform actions for each experiment where she will be weightless for several minutes. The company reports that Gerardi has previously worked in reduced gravity flights with the National Research Council of Canada and will be using that experience in the research mission.

The press release states that the research experiments will include bio-monitoring instrumentation that includes a wearable sensor system. The technology is designed to measure the biological effects of launch, weightlessness, re-entry, and landing on individuals participating in spaceflights.

Another piece of research will include a free-floating fluid configuration experiment. The data from this can be used to inform novel technologies that range from fluid-based accelerometer systems to humidifiers for spacecraft life support systems as well as new syringe designs to administer medication in space.

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