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Thrilling Time to be at NASA: USU Alumnus, Military Doc Heads to House

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Uniformed Providers College of the Well being Sciences

(Editor’s Observe: US Military Lt. Col. Frank Rubio, a health care provider and NASA astronaut, immediately launched to the Worldwide House Station aboard Soyuz MS-22 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, as a flight engineer and member of NASA Expedition 68. Rubio joins crewmates Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin for the 250-mile journey into area. Watch the crew put together for launch, on NASA’s video.)

For US Military Lt. Col. Frank Rubio, it is an thrilling time to be at NASA. The Uniformed Providers College of the Well being Sciences class of 2010 graduate, who was chosen in 2020 to be among the many first staff of astronauts to return to the moon as a part of the long run Artemis mission, headed to the Worldwide House Station on Sept. 21 as a flight engineer for NASA’s Expedition 68 − USU’s second alumnus to go to area previously three years.

When you hearken to Rubio discuss his upcoming launch, pleasure appears to be the predominant theme.

“We’re totally able to go, and we’re excited in regards to the mission,” Rubio stated throughout a latest press convention. “It is an extremely necessary mission. Our partnership between NASA and Roscosmos [the Russian space agency] has been ongoing for a very long time, and it is actually been an excellent and powerful relationship.”

Rubio will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan on Soyuz MS 22, beneath a United States-Russian built-in crew settlement that sends him into area now, whereas Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina joins NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada on the Dragon Endurance for a launch into area from Florida later this 12 months. Rubio will probably be joined by Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin aboard Soyuz.

[Related article: Army Officer Part of Newly Resumed Cooperation for International Space Station]

“I believe this crew swap actually represents the continued effort of large groups on either side and wonderful folks that made this occur. I believe it is necessary that once we’re at moments of potential rigidity elsewhere, that human spaceflight and exploration − one thing that each businesses are extremely enthusiastic about – stays a type of diplomacy and partnership, the place we will discover frequent floor and hold attaining nice issues collectively,” stated Rubio, alluding to the Russian-Ukraine battle.

“All of us get alongside nice. They’ve turn out to be good pals of mine. Sergei is a former Russian Air Pressure pilot. Dmitri is an engineer, however extra importantly, they’ve gotten to know my household, I’ve gotten to know their All of us have related priorities − household comes first. Our principal focus is to make this mission occur as safely and productively as potential to make sure we get all the things tasked to us finished. I all the time say that irrespective of the place we’re from, if extra folks simply go to know one another, I believe we would be very pleasantly stunned on the commonalities that we’ve got and the way effectively we get alongside collectively.”

Rubio, a Florida native of Salvadoran descent who was chosen for the astronaut program in 2017, has been in Russia for just a few months, persevering with the extraordinary coaching needed in preparation for the mission to area. He described the rigorous preparations that may assist him alter to the gravitational forces he’ll face throughout launch and the return to Earth.

“The commonest coaching we get is within the T-38 jet plane, which is a supersonic excessive efficiency jet. Simply having the ability to fly that regularly gives wonderful coaching. As a result of I am assigned to the Soyuz, I’ve had an opportunity to coach in Russian centrifuges, and people present probably essentially the most life like coaching within the sense that they will dial it down to precisely the kind of forces that you will be feeling throughout your mission profile,” he stated.

Rubio stated the final couple of weeks earlier than launch embody simulation coaching primarily within the Soyuz and the Russian section of the Worldwide House Station.

“We’ll have ultimate exams on them. They’re all-day occasions. Then they’re going to take a day filled with regular issues and potential emergencies that would occur and ensure we’re educated and able to go. As soon as we move these , we head all the way down to Baikonur. We’ll proceed to coach for the mission after which transition to quarantine and spend extra time as a crew collectively. We’ll proceed to bond and hopefully get to see our households over the last week or so. Sadly, throughout quarantine that may be restricted publicity to household, however we are going to hopefully get to see them.

Separating from his household is the hardest half, Rubio stated. “I’ve received an unbelievable household. They’ve all stepped as much as the plate and actually made this as simple as potential for me. It has been a problem, however we have all gone at it with a optimistic angle and attempt to simply embrace with it represents.”

USU alumnus and NASA astronaut, US Military Col. (Dr.) Andrew Morgan is with the Rubio household for the launch in Kazakhstan. Morgan, who was USU’s first graduate in area, went to the Worldwide House Station in 2019 as a part of Expeditions 60, 61, and 62 in July 2019. He spent 272 days in area, returning in April 2020. Rubio served because the escort for Morgan’s household at his launch. In line with Morgan, “it is the best honor an astronaut can have in help of his colleagues.”

[Related article: Army Col. (Dr.) Andrew Morgan, is the First Uniformed Services University Graduate and Army Physician to Become a NASA Astronaut.]

Rubio travels 250 miles into area to achieve the Worldwide House Station. As soon as there, he’ll be taught whether or not or not he’ll take part in area walks.

“We spent a ton of time coaching for EVAs, or spacewalks. All of us are excited to hopefully take part in these,” he stated. “There are 4 extremely gifted crew members on the USOS aspect who’re all totally educated and we’ll all be excited for one another no matter who’s doing what. We’ll do our greatest to help one another and ensure we’ve got success in all the things we do up there.”

A part of what he’ll be doing up there are analysis experiments.

“There are some actually neat organic experiments that I stay up for, clearly, due to my background. A biofabrication experiment will probably be up there, and the chances that this represents of being probably in a position to produce human organs would simply be phenomenal in {our capability}.” to cope with human illness again right here on Earth.These forms of issues are simply −generally they’re thoughts blowing.When you concentrate on the truth that we get to take part in a small however important method in serving to to make these a actuality it’s really thrilling,” Rubio stated, describing an experiment for USU’s Middle for Biotechnology (4DBio3) program, Fabrication in Austere Medical Environments.

Rubio will probably be performing follow-up work for a meniscus bioprinting experiment.

Rubio will even be serving to out with analysis taking a look at whether or not a more healthy weight-reduction plan impacts efficiency in area. He stated he’ll be consuming some “actually nice meals that features a lot of Omega 3s and plenty of meals excessive in nutritional vitamins.”

“I am enthusiastic about being a part of that experiment, enthusiastic about meals that we’ll eat up there. The advantage of being an Military astronaut,” Rubio stated, “is that I am used to eat MREs (meals able to eat) fairly a bit being out within the area, so I believe that is ready me effectively for my six months on station.”

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