WiredGov Newswire (news from other organisations)
UK Space Agency: New crew and UK experiment head to the International Space Station
Two rockets are poised to launch one day after another to replenish the International Space Station with a new crew and cargo carrying UK science.
The crew includes two new astronauts, Anne McClain (USA), who studied at the University of Bath and the University of Bristol, and David Saint-Jacques(Canada), who studied at Cambridge University. They join veteran cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko in blasting off to space on a Russian Soyuz crew ship from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11.31am (GMT) on 3 December.
Their six-and-a-half-month mission involves the first launch of a Soyuz rocket since the emergency landing of a capsule just after launch on 11 October 2018.
The following day (Tuesday 4 December) at 6.38pm GMT, SpaceX will launch its Dragon cargo craft from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral on a Falcon 9 rocket. On board will be the first UK-led experiment to head to the ISS, which uses worms to look at muscle loss in space and could lead to new treatments for muscular conditions for people on Earth.
The team of scientists from Exeter, Nottingham and Lancaster universities involved in this project hope to discover more about muscle loss in space, which in turn could lead to developing effective therapies and new treatments for muscular dystrophies. The research could also help boost our understanding of ageing muscle loss and even help improve treatments for diabetes.
Libby Jackson, Human Spaceflight and Microgravity Programme Manager at the UK Space Agency, said:
The launch of the Soyuz means crews will continue to work on the unique science taking place on the ISS, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. It is also exciting to see the first of many UK-led experiments heading to the space station. I look forward to seeing the results which will benefit our understanding of muscle loss and help to improve life on Earth.
Spaceflight is an extreme environment that causes many negative health changes to the body and astronauts can lose up to 40 per cent of their muscle after 6 months in space. These changes are regarded as an excellent model for the ageing process in the body, and scientists are able to use the knowledge gained from studying changes in astronauts to better understand the ageing human body.
The University of Nottingham’s Professor of Space Biology, Nate Szewczyk, who is at Cape Canaveral for the launch, said:
We are hugely excited to be coordinating the first UK-led experiment on the International Space Station.
The Molecular Muscle Experiment is the first experiment to try to establish the precise molecular causes of neuromuscular decline in space. We will be using a combination of gene manipulations and drugs to pinpoint these causes.
This work is part of a broader investment in space by both the UK government and the University of Nottingham and could lead to real-life improvements to human health, both in space and on Earth.
The microscopic worms being used in the experiment, known as C. elegans, share many of the essential biological characteristics as humans and are affected by biological changes in space, including alterations to muscle and the ability to use energy.
Melanie Welham, Executive Chair of Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, BBSRC, is also enthusiastic about the mission, said:
We are all very excited to be supporting the innovative research that forms the first UK experiment to take place on the International Space Station.
Sending worms into space sounds wonderfully futuristic but this is real research that could help provide new solutions to health problems being faced here on earth. We will all be watching the launch with excitement and wish the team every success with the experiment.
The Molecular Muscle Experiment is the first UK-led experiment to take place on the International Space Station. UK scientists are able to carry out this research thanks to the UK Space Agency’s subscriptions to the European Space Agency’s exploration programme, which contributes to the costs of the International Space Station, which the UK joined in 2012.
The project is supported by the UK Space Agency, European Space Agency, UKRI, and Arthritis Research UK and the launch is currently scheduled to take place between November 2018 and February 2019.
A year since the launch of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, the UK space sector is also set to benefit from the development of the £99m National Satellite Test Facility at Harwell and the proposed commercial spaceport in Sutherland, Scotland.
Both launches will be streamed live at https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive
Latest News from
WiredGov Newswire (news from other organisations)
LGA responds to draft Domestic Abuse Bill22/01/2019 12:40:00
Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, responded to the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill announced by government yesterday
Citizens Advice - Yorkshire and Humberside named energy switching heartland of Britain22/01/2019 10:40:00
Yorkshire and Humberside has been named the energy switching heartland of Britain, while Chorley has been named the UK capital of switching for 2018, according to new figures released yesterday.
LGA responds to NAO report on NHS financial sustainability22/01/2019 09:35:00
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, responded to the NAO report on NHS financial sustainability
Companies House has been recognised as a Disability Confident Employer21/01/2019 16:05:00
We’ve been accredited Level 2 from the Disability Confident scheme for our commitment to making a difference for disabled people.
Simplify Immigration Rules, proposes Law Commission21/01/2019 14:05:00
The Law Commission has today (21 January 2019) formulated proposals and questions aimed at simplifying the UK’s Immigration Rules.
TUC: Private outsourcing firms get £3,500 per household for services18/01/2019 13:05:00
New analysis published today (Friday) by the TUC finds that private service firms are getting thousands of pounds a year from every UK household to deliver public services.
FRC: The Financial Reporting Lab launch new blog and podcast series, Structured Futures17/01/2019 15:05:00
Structured Futures is a new blog and podcast series from the Financial Reporting Lab which will look at different perspectives on how technology is driving change in corporate reporting. In this first blog, we speak to Mohini Singh from the CFA about the opportunities that structured data provide.
Bumper bonuses at NHS Property Services under fire from Unite17/01/2019 13:05:00
Bumper bonuses for top bosses at NHS Property Services are ‘a disgrace’, as the health service grapples with a funding crisis and growing waiting lists, Unite, the union, has said.
Fears over possible privatisation of NHS cervical screening services17/01/2019 12:15:00
Fears have been expressed about the possible privatisation of cervical screening services used by thousands of women in England every year.
LGA responds to report on scams targeting vulnerable people17/01/2019 10:40:00
Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, responded to analysis of scams on older and vulnerable people by Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau