SpaceFlight and Cognitive Assessment

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 2 May 2005

To respond to a colleague who joked about my precoccupation with manned spaceflight, chortling that he thought I might have blasted off by now...I haven't...but that is not stopping people from trying; for example, look at Richard Branson walking around in his space helmet. If he can make $200,000 per customer I would call that a great business. It's even a better business than selling Ferraris and Maseratis, like the new Ferrari dealer that just opened up in Redwood City, in the vacuous tilt-up haunt of a former dotcom company that went bust in 2001.

Or, on another front, Jeff Bezos' purchase of vast tracts of land in West Texas for his future spaceport, or his website, blue origin.

For a comical, but serious look at this enigma, I direct you to our essay on cognitive enhancement for space. It's really not a laughing matter. It's serious enough that you really ought to purchase MemCheck so you can get a snapshot of your cognitive performance. It's no more difficult than taking a photo with your new Motorola Razor....

Yet another case of astronauts performing cognitive testing...

SpaceRef note: This NASA Headquarters internal status report, as presented here, contains additional, original material produced by SpaceRef.com (copyright © 2005) to enhance access to related status reports and NASA activities...

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. "Spring & Labor Day" - a holiday in Russia. Underway: Week 2 for Increment 11.

Sergei Krikalev began the day with the regular morning inspection, combined with the monthly routine inspection on DC1 circuit breakers and fuses. [The regular monthly checkup in the "Pirs" Docking Module looks at AZS circuit breakers on the BVP Amp Switch Panel (they should all be On) and the LEDs (light-emitting diodes) of 14 fuses in Fuse Panels BPP-30 & BPP-36.]

After breakfast, the CDR also performed the periodic inspection and tightening of the quick disconnect (QD) screw clamps of the SM's docking and internal transfer mechanism (SSVP), where Progress 17 is linked up. [The screw clamps rigidize the mating surfaces between SM aft dock and 17P.]

John Phillips meanwhile had another 2-hr. timeline period for prepacking equipment slated for return on LF-1/STS-114.

Krikalev transferred cargo items remaining in the Soyuz-216/10S to stowage locations in the station. [Besides the VC8 "Eneide" payload equipment brought up with Roberto Vittori, 10S also carried Russian cargoes such as photographic gear (NIKON D1X with accessories), A31p laptops, personal items and fresh food, as well as NASA equipment (e.g., CHeCS sampling kits, radiation monitors, medical accessories, the Renal experiment kit, etc.).]

With the Elektron still off, Sergei started the regeneration cycle on absorbent bed #1 of the Russian harmful impurities removal system (BMP). Later tonight, the bake-out to space will be terminated and the vent valve closed. [Regeneration of each of the two cartridges takes about 12 hours; it is not being conducted during crew sleep. The BMP is currently still using the same vacuum vent valve for regeneration as the Elektron (the latter for venting hydrogen).]

Dr. Phillips signed in and performed his first session with the psychological MedOps WinSCAT experiment (Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool) on the MEC (medical equipment computer), which last week received new software for this assessment. [This is a time-constrained questionnaire test of cognitive abilities, routinely performed by astronauts aboard the ISS every 30 days before or after the PHS (periodic health status) test or on special CDR's, crewmember's or flight surgeon's request. The exercise involves tests of symbol memorizing, repeating numbers, mathematical processing, and pattern matching.]

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