Astronaut David Saint-Jacques spent the first couple of days getting used to his new temporary home but is now hard at work.
As a first time visitor to space and the International Space Station, Saint-Jacques took some time on Tuesday and Wednesday to get familiar with the neighbourhood and to see how his body would adjust to space. Many astronauts, first timers and even veterans, experience some form of discomfort when they first get to space. Some have no issues being in zero-g, while others need more time to acclimatize. So far, there’s been no word on whether Saint-Jacques has had any issues.
On Thursday Saint-Jacques and NASA astronaut Anne McLain, herself a first-time visitor to space, worked on their first experiment together.
That experiment is called VECTION which uses a virtual reality system to examine how microgravity affects astronauts’ perception of their motion and is one of the medical experiments sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency.
The experiment is described as follows: “The broad goal of The Effect of Long Duration Hypogravity on the Perception of Self-Motion (VECTION) study is to determine how visual motion perception, perceived orientation, and the ability to estimate distances change between Earth normal (1-g) and a microgravity environment, and to help develop a mathematical model of how human self-motion perception is altered under long duration microgravity and its subsequent recovery upon return to Earth normal conditions.”
The experiment was developed by researchers at York University with Laurence Harris as the principal investigator working with co-investigators Michael Jenkin and Robert Allison, also both from York University.
Putting this journey into words will not be easy, but I will try. I am finally where I was born to be. pic.twitter.com/RZniLxIBfB
— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) December 7, 2018
Saint-Jacques and McLain also packed up biology research gear that will be stored in the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft which is arriving on Saturday, and which will return the research to Earth in January.
A possible spacewalk?
Shortly after David Saint-Jacques launched on Monday, NASA and ROSCOSMOS announced that a February 28 launch of three astronauts to the International Space Station had been scheduled. On the new flight, Soyuz MS-12, are NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos. Both were on the October 11 Soyuz MS-10 flight that didn’t make it to orbit, and both will now get an opportunity to get into space and complete the mission they’ve trained for. Also on the flight will be NASA astronaut Christina Hammock Koch. Once they arrive the ISS crew complement will be back to six.
This is great news for Saint-Jacques as it means he’ll be back in the running for a spacewalk. While there’s no guarantee he’ll get that opportunity, the odds have certainly gone up and it now becomes a real possibility. It’s something he’s trained for years to do, and as every astronaut will tell you, it is something they all aspire to accomplish.
Dragon spacecraft bringing new science experiments to the ISS