Luca Parmitano, Italian astronaut of the European space agency (ESA), is preparing to go back into space, after having already been in 2013 during Expedition 37/38 on the International space station (ISS) and after having already been part of the Expedition 58 reserve crew (he had already been a reserve member also for Expedition 34).
Parmitano will take part, in the role of commander (something that has never happened to an Italian astronaut and only happened twice to a European astronaut) in Expedition 60/61, called “Beyond”, that should start in July 2019 always with destination the ISS.
Parmitano trains virtually for space
To prepare for the best these weeks the astronaut is training in the Virtual Reality Laboratory of Nasa’s Johnson Space Center as well as at the Nasa’s Space Vehicle Mock-up Facility where virtual reality is used to train astronauts to tackle the path and activities outside the ISS so as to be ready to make decisions and act quickly.
Two skills that Luca Parmitano has already shown to have when, on July 16, 2013, during his second spacewalk (the first was on July 9th and was the first ever for an Italian astronaut), the helmet of his suit had begun to fill with water causing difficulty in vision and breathing.
At the end of the walk it is estimated that almost one and a half liters of water had accumulated in the helmet, so much so that after the accident occurred to Parmitano the helmets of the NASA space suits have been equipped with a special mouthpiece to allow the astronauts to breathe even in the case of a flooded helmet.
Over 50 experiments to go beyond
During the Beyond mission together with the NASA’s astronaut Andrew Morgan and Roscosmos’ cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, Luca Parmitano will conduct over 50 experiments that will exploit the latest advances in technologies such as robotics, to try to reach a new level of space exploration.
Parmitano and his colleagues will then go beyond what is already known, starting from training techniques, for which NASA seems to focus more and more on the contribution that virtual and augmented reality technology can give, as Mondivirtuali.it has already testified.
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