Space | 02. July 2019 | posted by Friederike Wütscher

AGBRESA - After the first lying down phase, preparations for the second campaign begin

Credit: DLR
One of the AGBRESA test participants completing the rehabilitation programme

The first campaign of the Artificial Gravity Bed Rest Study (AGBRESA) is over, the 12 test participants have moved out and all the utensils, beds, equipment and instruments have been checked and stored away. The majority of staff can now enjoy a breather before preparations begin in August for the second campaign, which will start early in the following month. Now, those involved have some time to draw conclusions from the first campaign. read more

Space | 01. July 2019 | posted by Tilman Spohn

The InSight mission logbook

HP3
Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
You can find more graphics explaining the instruments of the InSight mission on flickr

In his logbook, Instrument Lead Tilman Spohn who is back in Berlin since April and communicating with JPL via the web, gives us the latest updates regarding the InSight mission and our HP3 instrument - the 'Mole' - which will hammer into the Martian surface. read more

Space | 07. June 2019 | posted by Eric Bershad

AGBRESA – Centrifuge rides against changes in astronauts’ vision

Image: DLR.
The team around Eric Bershad (second from left)

Participants in AGBRESA are on a long-duration mission to advance our understanding of the effects of spaceflight on the human body. During the AGBRESA mission, our team, Eric Bershad, Karina Marshall-Goebel and others, seek to understand how long-duration exposure to a six-degree head-down tilt, a spaceflight analogue, affects brain and eye health. read more

Space | 06. June 2019 | posted by Bed-rest-study

AGBRESA – A participant's tale: Reaching the finishing line through sheer will power

Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
The :envihab facility at the DLR site in Cologne

HDT 47. Forty-seventh day of bedrest. Another 13 days – and what's left of today. Yesterday I spoke with my wife on the phone. She still can't imagine what would possess a person to volunteer for 60 days in bed without even a pillow. “Do you never feel the urge to get up?” she asks. One of the support staff asked me a similar question just recently. With less than two weeks of bedrest left on the schedule it seems an apt time to answer this question. My summary is simple: it was exactly the way I imagined. read more

Space | 28. May 2019 | posted by Bed-rest-study

AGBRESA – terrestrial astronauts’ experiences of training on the centrifuge

Image: DLR.
The short-arm human centrifuge is a major component of the AGBRESA bed-rest study

The AGBRESA study is the first to explore using the DLR short-arm human centrifuge as a possible mitigation for the negative effects of weightlessness, which are being simulated by bed rest. This involves eight of the 12 terrestrial astronauts – the AGBRESA bedrest study participants – spinning in the centrifuge for 30 minutes every day. To allow them to experience artificial gravity they adopt a specific position – supine with heads pointed inwards – which exposes their feet to two g (twice Earth gravity) and the centre of gravity of their bodies to one g (Earth gravity).  This could become a training method for future long-term missions in space. By the end of their 60 days of bed rest, the participants will have spent 1800 minutes on the centrifuge and will have rotated 54,000 times!. read more

Space | 24. May 2019 | posted by Reinhold Ewald

Reinhold Ewald visits AGBRESA participants – from astronaut to explornaut

Image: DLR
From astronaut to explornaut – Reinhold Ewald visits the 12 AGBRESA bed-rest study participants.

The spaceship hatch is open, so pressure equalisation with the outside world has clearly already taken place. Standing before the :envihab facility in Cologne early on a Monday evening on my way to a special kind of ‘nauts’, namely ‘explornauts’, I feel as if I’m about to enter a space station. While Earth’s astronauts have not come much closer to their goal – the stars (astro-) – explornauts are in a comparatively better position. On the way to new inventions and discoveries, which explorers have always made, one does not always need impressive technology; sometimes a bed inclined down at the head end by six degrees is sufficient. read more

Space | 22. May 2019 | posted by Friederike Wütscher

AGBRESA: HyperCampus – How does artificial gravity affect plasticity of the brain?

Credit: DLR
Tests with the VR headset were conducted even before the bedrest period as part of the HyperCampus experiment by Alexander Stahn

"Do not disturb – Experiment ongoing!" is the message hanging from the door of participants' rooms during the AGBRESA studies. Often, a concession of scientists and medical staff march in and out of the participants' rooms – which are usually open – to administer various experiments – to transport them via gurney to the experiments in the nearby modules of the aerospace medicine research facility: envihab. read more

Space | 17. May 2019 | posted by Pierre-François Migeotte

AGBRESA - Cardiac deconditioning in astronauts

Credit: DLR
A participant in the MRI machine

During the AGBRESA study, we are studying the cardiac deconditioning that occurs during space flight. Together with colleagues from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Politecnico di Milano, and with the support from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Belgian Science Policy Office, we are looking at the weakening of the heart, which can lead to an astronaut fainting upon returning to gravity after a long duration spaceflight. This is a big problem for space exploration and requires countermeasures to be implemented during such missions. Our study aims to evaluate whether artificial gravity, generated by short-arm centrifugation, could be a valid countermeasure for space exploration missions. read more

Space | 15. May 2019 | posted by Timo Frett

AGBRESA – you take everything with you into space, apart from gravity – training on the short-arm centrifuge

Credit: DLR
Alexandra Noppe, Timo Frett and Michael Arz from the DLR centrifuge team prepare a test participant for treatment

Strict bedrest and spinning – how do they fit together? Very easily – as a participant in the AGBRESA bed-rest study! The participants complete their training on the DLR short-arm human centrifuge every day during their 60 days of bedrest. read more

Space | 09. May 2019 | posted by Friederike Wütscher

AGBRESA – "In 'space', you have plenty of time, but no fuel station nearby" – docking training

Credit: DLR
DLR doctoral candidate Sarah Piechowski monitoring a test participant during docking training

Navigating a spacecraft through the endless expanse of the cosmos and performing difficult manoeuvres under adverse conditions to dock safely with the Space Station – what sounds like the childhood dream of any hobby astronaut is in fact a routine task for participants in the AGBRESA bed-rest study. Learning how to control a spacecraft with six degrees of freedom or 6df, to use the more usual term, is one of the numerous experiments that study participants are required to complete. The spaceflight, however, is carried out in a lying-down position in Cologne to be compatible with the requirements of the bed-rest study. By the time the study is over, the participants will each have completed 20 docking 'sessions' in total, acquiring the necessary skills to control a spacecraft and – if everything goes according to plan – dock it safely with the Space Station. read more