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

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Uniformed Companies College of the Well being Sciences

(Editor’s Notice: US Military Lt. Col. Frank Rubio, a physician and NASA astronaut, immediately launched to the Worldwide Area 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 house. 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 Companies College of the Well being Sciences class of 2010 graduate, who was chosen in 2020 to be among the many first crew of astronauts to return to the moon as a part of the longer term Artemis mission, headed to the Worldwide Area Station on Sept. 21 as a flight engineer for NASA’s Expedition 68 − USU’s second alumnus to go to house up to now three years.

In case you take heed to Rubio discuss his upcoming launch, pleasure appears to be the predominant theme.

“We’re totally able to go, and we’re excited concerning the mission,” Rubio mentioned throughout a current 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 and robust relationship.”

Rubio will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan on Soyuz MS 22, underneath a United States-Russian built-in crew settlement that sends him into house now, whereas Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina joins NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada on the Dragon Endurance for a launch into house from Florida later this 12 months. Rubio might 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 continuing effort of super groups on each side and superb people who made this occur. I believe it is necessary that after we’re at moments of attainable stress elsewhere, that human spaceflight and exploration − one thing that each businesses are extremely keen about – stays a type of diplomacy and partnership, the place we will discover widespread floor and preserve reaching nice issues collectively,” mentioned Rubio, alluding to the Russian-Ukraine battle.

“All of us get alongside nice. They’ve turn into good associates of mine. Sergei is a former Russian Air Drive 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 most important focus is to make this mission occur as safely and productively as attainable to make sure we get the whole lot tasked to us completed. I at all times 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 and the way properly 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 a number of months, persevering with the extreme coaching mandatory in preparation for the mission to house. He described the rigorous preparations that can assist him modify to the gravitational forces he’ll face throughout launch and the return to Earth.

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

Rubio mentioned the final couple of weeks earlier than launch embrace simulation coaching primarily within the Soyuz and the Russian section of the Worldwide Area Station.

“We’ll have closing exams on them. They’re all-day occasions. Then they’re going to take a day stuffed with regular issues and attainable emergencies that would occur and ensure we’re skilled 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 past 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 mentioned. “I’ve received an unimaginable household. They’ve all stepped as much as the plate and actually made this as straightforward as attainable for me. It has been a problem, however we have all gone at it with a constructive perspective 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 house, went to the Worldwide Area Station in 2019 as a part of Expeditions 60, 61, and 62 in July 2019. He spent 272 days in house, returning in April 2020. Rubio served because the escort for Morgan’s household at his launch. Based on Morgan, “it is the best honor an astronaut can have in assist 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 house to succeed in the Worldwide Area Station. As soon as there, he’ll study whether or not or not he’ll take part in house walks.

“We spent a ton of time coaching for EVAs, or spacewalks. All of us are excited to hopefully take part in these,” he mentioned. “There are 4 extremely proficient crew members on the USOS aspect who’re all totally skilled and we’ll all be excited for one another no matter who’s doing what. We’ll do our greatest to assist one another and ensure we’ve success in the whole lot 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 look ahead to, clearly, due to my background. A biofabrication experiment might be up there, and the probabilities that this represents of being presumably capable of produce human organs would simply be phenomenal in {our capability}.” to take care of human illness again right here on Earth.These forms of issues are simply −typically they’re thoughts blowing.When you consider the truth that we get to take part in a small however important approach in serving to to make these a actuality it’s actually thrilling,” Rubio mentioned, describing an experiment for USU’s Heart for Biotechnology (4DBio3) program, Fabrication in Austere Medical Environments.

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

Rubio may also be serving to out with analysis whether or not a more healthy food regimen impacts efficiency in house. He mentioned 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 benefit of being an Military astronaut,” Rubio mentioned, “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 properly for my six months on station.”

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