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International Team starts globally unique Training
Yesterday the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF) presented its eight new analog astronauts. The second woman to join the analog astronaut corps as well as her seven male colleagues were selected from more than 100 international applications. Currently the Austrian Space Forum is the only organization worldwide to conduct this challenging and highly specialized training. The OeWF’s eight new analog astronauts come from Austria, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Some of them will join the OeWF’s present analog astronauts to conduct the next simulated Mars-mission in Israel in 2020.
What is Analog Research?
“Analog research is designed to test concepts, working procedures and equipment to find the weak spot so the actual mission can be realized as safely as possible,” says Dr. Gernot Grömer, Administrative Director of the Austrian Space Forum and continues,“ the purpose of simulating a Mars-mission on Earth is to prepare for future crewed missions on the Red Planet. To perform the experiments, the OeWF is one of only five research groups worldwide that has developed a prototype spacesuit which is worn by the OeWF’s analog astronauts during their mission.
Das Herzstück einer ÖWF-Mars-Missions-Simulation, also der Trockenübung für künftige Flüge von Menschen zum Roten Planeten, sind die Analog-AstronautInnen des Österreichischen Weltraum Forums. Sie bringen bereits eine große Bandbreite an Qualifikationen und Spezialisierungen mit. Ihre Grundausbildung deckt neben der Steuerung der ÖWF-Raumanzug-Prototypen auch Geologie, Planetologie, Astrobiologie, Medientraining, Stressmanagement, Notfallmedizin und ein ausgedehntes Fitnesstraining ab.
International Team and Cooperation
The Austrian Space Forum’s analog astronaut corps has so far consisted of one woman and four men from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Dr. Harald Gohm, honorary consul of the Netherlands in Austria, says, ”International cooperation is definitely the key word when it comes to the Austrian Space Forum’s Mars-mission-simulations. Institutions and scientists from all over the world take part in theses highly complex projects. Thus I am very pleased that yet again a Dutch expert has proven to meet the standards of the OeWF’s analog astronaut selection and will join the corps.
The German honorary consul in Austria, Dr. Dietmar Czernich stresses the importance of role models, ”With this selection the second woman has entered the analog astronaut corps and I’m indeed proud that yet again she comes from Germany. Projects such as the OeWF’s simulated Mars-missions are not only of scientific value but also offer important opportunities to inspire and encourage women to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”
Talya Lador-Fresher, Israeli Ambassador to Austria, about the upcoming Mars-mission simulation in Israel, ”I am delighted that the Negev desert in Israel has been chosen to become the site for the OeWF’s next Mars-mission-simulation. Analog research is an exciting and quickly developing research area that will open new opportunities not only to science but also to industry. I look forward to the contributions this mission will undoubtedly offer to future crewed Mars-explorations and am therefore very proud of this cooperation between Israel and the Austrian Space Forum.”
What is an Analog Astronaut?
The Austrian Space Forum’s analog astronauts are carefully selected experts who are trained to execute most of the science field activities while wearing the spacesuit prototype. They also act as a public face and represent the mission as STEM-ambassadors for media and educational activities. Analog astronauts conduct spaceflight-simulations in Mars-like regions on earth as well as test and evaluate workflows and human factors pertinent to human Mars exploration. Their training includes planetology, geology, astrobiology, media training, stress management, emergency care, fitness and above all operating the spacesuit prototype.
The OeWF is one of only five institutions worldwide which has so far developed such a prototype. It emulates the restrictions of an actual planetary surface spacesuit, like weight, resistance or limited sensory input, whilst protecting the analog astronaut from the environment and keeping him/her alive. An elaborate human-machine interface, including a sensor network and specifically developed software assist the analog astronaut during planetary surface operations. The 45kg heavy prototype has been developed to optimize interactions with other (robotic) components, like a rover, and minimize the risk of human contamination
Short Bios of the eight new Analog Astronauts
Adam Crellin (United Kingdom)
Born in 1993 in Whitehaven, UK, Mr. Crellin studied at the University of Newcastle for a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Sciences, shortly followed by an MSc in Space Physiology and Health at King’s College London. A strong advocate of UK human spaceflight activities, Adam Crellin was previously a co-founding member of the Human Spaceflight Capitalisation Office (HuSCO) and a National Point of Contact for the Student European Low Gravity Research Association. Currently, Mr. Crellin is a Graduate-Entry Medical Student at the University of Oxford and the British Army Reserve, and works as a Space Life Science Consultant. In his spare time, he is a seasoned scuba diver and mountaineer.
Adrianos Golemis (Greece)
Born 1987, lives in Germany, originally from Greece. Education as Medical Doctor at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, Master’s degree in Space Studies at the International Space University, France, and EASA Basic Short Courses on Aviation Medicine, King’s College London. He took part in a research internship on future Astronaut Selection Criteria for Mars (conducted by the European Space Agency ESA) and in a 14-month program of medical research in isolated Antarctic Analogue studies (Concordia Station, IPEV/ESA). Currently employed as flight surgeon, monitoring astronaut health during spaceflight. Dr.Golemis is fluent in Greek, English, French, good on German and has basic knowledge of Italian.
Anika Mehlis (Germany)
Born 1981 in Germany, she studied biology with focus on Microbiology at the Free University of Berlin, as well as Engineering for Environmental Technology and Recycling at the University of Applied Sciences Zwickau. During her second university degree she worked as chemical-technical assistant at an environmental lab and as lecturer for Biology at the University of Cooperative Education Plauen. Apart from her PhD studies in Public Health at Bielefeld University, she works as a team leader in “infection protection and environmental medicine” in the Health Department Plauen, Germany. She is mother to three daughters. Anika Mehlis is fluent in German and English and has basic knowledge of French, Spanish and Latin.
Simone Paternostro (Italy)
Born in 1986 and originally from Italy, Dr. Paternostro holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, a Master’s degree in Space Engineering as well as a 2nd level Master’s degree in Space Transportation Systems and a PhD in Engineering Surveying and Space Geodesy. Initially he worked as an AOCS/GNC intern at EADS Astrium (now Airbus Group), followed by a research position at the Institute for Aerospace Technology, Univ. of Nottingham. Currently he is employed as Multi-Increment Payload Planner/Complement Requirements Manager in ESA’s Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) where he manages payloads on board of the ISS (International Space Station). Dr. Paternostro fluently speaks Italian and English and has a basic knowledge of German.
Alon Tenzer (Israel)
From Israel. Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, Computer Science and Aviation Science at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Master of Science in Neuroscience at the Weizmann-Institute of Science, Israel. A veteran of the Israeli Air Force, where among other positions he served as a software developer & team leader. He also worked as a researcher and data-scientist at the Weizmann-Institute of Science. Mr. Tenzer currently works as senior AI engineer where he leads artificial-intelligence-based industry projects in various companies in Singapore.
Thomas Wijnen (The Netherlands)
Born in the Netherlands in 1986, Dr. Wijnen did his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands, followed by a research internship at the Universidad de Valparaiso, Chile, a master’s degree with distinction and a PhD in Astrophysics. He is captain in the Royal Netherlands Air Force Reserve and engaged in projects on space situational awareness for the Dutch Space Security Center. He currently works at the Technical University of Delft on satellite tracking. Dr. Wijnen holds a PADI scuba-diving and a parachute license and is fluent in Dutch and English. His language skills include intermediate Spanish as well as basic French and German.
Robert Wild (Austria)
Born in 1982, from Innsbruck, he did his BSc in Physics at the University of Arizona and his PhD in Physics at the University of Colorado. Dr. Wild’s research topics have included matter wave diffraction, the quantum mechanics of ultracold atoms, and laser-based trace gas detection. Currently, his focus is on laboratory studies of interstellar ions as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Innsbruck. He has published in scientific journals and is a trained Wilderness First Responder, Advanced Open Water Diver and fluently speaks English and German and has good command of Spanish.
Liad Yosef (Israel)
Liad Yosef is from Israel, he did his Bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics at the Hebrew University Jerusalem and in Economics at the Tel Aviv University. He served in the Israeli Air Force (Talpiot Project) in the rank of Captain. In 2018 he took part in the ISU Space Studies Program which aims to further international cooperation in space related fields and activities. Currently he is an architect at Duda, Inc. He participated in a Mars analog mission in Israel as an analog astronaut as part of the DMars organization and is currently studying artificial intelligence in a study program in Israel. Besides Hebrew, Mr. Yosef is fluent in English and has good knowledge of Spanish.
Credit Portraitfotos: OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)
About the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF)
The Austrian Space Forum is one of the world’s leading institutions conducting Mars analog missions, thus paving the way for the future human exploration of the Red Planet. Experts from a broad variety of disciplines as well as the spaceflight sector constitute the core of the OeWF’s continued endeavors that on a regular basis include national and international institutions from science and industry to work at the cutting edge of scientific research. On doing so the Austrian Space Forum is using its excellent contacts to opinion leaders, politics and media to further and internationally propagate Austrian top-level research. The Austrian Space Forum also contributes significantly to inspiring and educating young people in the sectors of science, technology and engineering. The OeWF offers internships to students and pupils, its experts supervise scientific papers on a regular basis.
This article is available in: German
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