Wyle Scientist Chosen to Participate in NASA’s NEEMO Underwater Research Project

October 30, 2009

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ — A Wyle expert in human performance in space has been chosen as a crew member for the next undersea research mission in the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) project.

Dr. Andrew Abercromby, who serves as Wyle’s deputy lead for exploration and mission development and extra vehicular activity (EVA) and surface operations hardware, will participate in research directly related to NASA’s planned return to the Moon.

He has been with Wyle’s Houston-based Integrated Science and Engineering Group for nearly three years and is a certified advanced open water SCUBA diver.

The Aquarius habitat, more than three miles off Key Largo, Fla., is a remote underwater station used to provide a convincing analog to space exploration. NEEMO sends groups of NASA employees and contractors there to live for up to three weeks at a time. Crewmembers experience some of the same tasks and challenges underwater as they would in space.

Abercromby’s mission, officially titled NEEMO 14, is scheduled to run in the spring of 2010.

“It will be a 14-day mission including multiple mission objectives relevant to the Human Research Program and EVA Physiology, Systems and Performance Lunar Surface Systems activities,” said Abercromby. “We will conduct and participate in a variety of Human Research Program-related behavioral health and immunology studies.”

The EVA Physiology, Systems and Performance project will continue the Human Research Program -funded EVA performance protocol conducted during previous NEEMO missions in which the effects of EVA suit weight and center of gravity on EVA performance is evaluated during a series of defined EVA tasks. The Lunar Surface Systems objectives relate to the interaction of EVA crewmembers with the lunar electric rover and the lunar lander.

“We will perform a variety of tasks using mockups of the lunar electric rover and the lunar lander,” said Abercromby. “Our work will include lander onloading and offloading, incapacitated crewmember transfer onto the lander deck and into the lunar electric rover, and evaluation of EVA and intravehicular activity performance under varying degrees of communications.

“These studies will directly inform lander design, lunar electric rover design, EVA suit design and lunar communications architecture decisions. Hopefully, NEEMO 14 will be the first of several missions in which we use these mockups to address these important questions.”

Aquarius, located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, is owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and managed by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. It is deployed next to deep coral reefs 62 feet below the surface.

The laboratory is most often used by marine biologists, for whom Aquarius acts as home base as they study the coral reef, the fish and aquatic plants that live nearby and composition of the surrounding seawater. Aquarius houses sophisticated lab equipment and computers, enabling scientists to perform research and process samples without leaving their underwater facilities.

Wyle, a privately held company, provides information technology and engineering services to the federal government on long-term outsourcing contracts. The company also provides biomedical and engineering services for NASA’s human space missions; test and evaluation of aircraft, weapon systems, networks, and other government assets; and other engineering services to the aerospace, defense, and nuclear power industries.

    Dan Reeder
    (310) 563-6834
    Ref.:  NR/09-30


Source: newswire

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