Scheduled to lift off on 18 September 2006 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, along with Expedition 14 crew members, NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, Iranian-American entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari will be the test subject for four ESA experiments during her stay on board the International Space Station.
The experiments in which Ansari will participate are in the area of human physiology: from the search of the effects of space radiation on the crew, to the investigation of the mechanisms governing the development of muscle atrophy in astronauts. The experiments aim to investigate the reaction of the human organism to the space environment, with the ultimate objective of optimizing the conditions for human permanence in space, and to cast light on common diseases affecting people on Earth. The European Experiment Programme that is currently carried out by ESA on the International Space Station (ISS) covers a large range of scientific disciplines, which encompass physics, chemistry, biology, physiology, psychology and related topics.
Astronauts on board the ISS have a very busy schedule, performing every day experiments on behalf of scientists on Earth, and acting as subjects of experiments themselves.
A number of experiments - especially in the area of human physiology - fall under a long-term plan and require a high number of observations to be carried out in various sessions and on a considerable number of different subjects. For this reason such experiments involve not only the permanent crew of the ISS, currently constituting three members, but also short term visitors, who are regularly ferried to the Station with the Soyuz or with the Shuttle.
This is the case for ESA astronauts, who normally perform a series of experiments during their short missions to the ISS. In 2005, it was Spaceflight Participant Gregory Olsen who acted as a subject for ESA experiments in the
Contact: Maurizio Belingheri
European Space Agency