ready for takeoff
Houston space health institute to launch more experiments into space on upcoming mission
Houston's Translational Research Institute for Space Health, or TRISH, will launch six more experiments into space this spring aboard Axiom Space's Ax-2 mission, the organization announced this week.
The biomedical research conducted through TRISH, in consortium with CalTeach and MIT, will look into how space travel impacts everything from motion sickness to memory over the course of the mission's 10-day stint on the International Space Station.
The crew will consist of four astronauts: Commander Peggy Whitson (previously with NASA), Pilot John Shoffner and Mission Specialists Ali AlQarni and Rayyanah Barnawi. It's a historic team, bringing the first female private space crew commander and the first Saudi astronauts to the ISS.
“Insights gathered from this work improve our understanding of how the human body and mind respond to spaceflight, helping us to prepare future astronauts to remain safe and healthy during longer-duration missions," Dr. Dorit Donoviel, TRISH executive director and professor in the Center for Space Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, says in a statement.
The six projects onboard the mission have been developed by researchers within TRISH as well as the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University and Baylor College of Medicine. They aim to assess the following:
- Spaceflight participants’ performance in memory, abstraction, spatial orientation, emotion recognition, risk decision making and sustained attention before and after the mission -Astronauts’ inner ears and eyes' response to motion before and after space travel and how this relates to motion sickness and nausea during launch and landing
- The effects of spaceflight on the human body at the genomic level
- Changes to the eyes and brain during spaceflight
- Astronaut's sleep, personality, health history, team dynamics and immune-related symptoms
- Sensorimotor abilities and changes in space and how this can impact astronauts' ability to stand, balance and have full body control on the moon
Some of this information will become part of TRISH’s Enhancing eXploration Platforms and ANalog Definition, or EXPAND, program, which aims to boost human health on commercial space flights through its database. The program launched in 2021.
Ax-2 is Axiom's second all-private astronaut mission to the ISS and will launch out of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard a SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft. Axiom was first established in 2016 with the goal of building the world's first commercial space station.
TRISH is also slated to launch nine experiments on board SpaceX's Polaris Dawn mission, which is now expected to launch this summer. The research aboard Polaris Dawn is intended to complement research supported by TRISH on the Inspiration4 all-civilian mission to orbit, which was also operated by SpaceX in 2021.