May 18, 2009 | 3
Astronaut Mike Massimino, currently in orbit on space shuttle Atlantis, is better known in the Twitterverse as Astro_Mike. More than 300,000 Twitter users follow his updates, which began last month as chronicles of his preparations for liftoff.
A true Twitter diehard, Massimino hasn't let a mere space launch stand in the way of blasting miniature missives to his faithful.
Since Atlantis lifted off a week ago, Massimino has continuously tweeted about the beautiful views from space and, most recently, how difficult it was to sleep after an epic spacewalk.
Dec 24, 2008 | 10
The first French woman in space has been hospitalized after she tried to take her own life, according to published reports.
Claudie Haignere, 51, was hospitalized late yesterday after she tried to commit suicide, an unidentified French government source told Agence France-Presse. Another source told AFP that Haignere overdosed on pills.
Haignere, a rheumatologist, flew to the MIR space station as an astronaut in 1996 and to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2001. She's studied how humans adapt their motor and cognitive skills in weightlessness and monitored astronauts from the ground. Later, on the MIR, she performed experiments in physiology, developmental biology, fluid physics and technology, according to the European Space Agency.
Nov 25, 2008 | 5
After five days of ill-fated attempts, International Space Station (ISS) astronauts today ran two successful tests of equipment on board designed to turn urine, sweat and moisture from the air into drinking water, NASA.gov reports. NASA now must decide whether the contraption, deemed essential for hydration of future astronauts traveling farther out into space, should return with the space shuttle Edeavour on Sunday or remain on the ISS for further testing, according to the Associated Press.
After some tinkering (including installation of new support brackets to secure the system's centrifuge) by station commander Mike Fincke and shuttle mission specialist Don Pettit, the Urine Processor Assembly (part of the station's new Water Recovery System), successfully finished a full five-hour run, Space.com reported today. The astronauts successfully operated the system again three hours later after it cooled down. The $154 million water recycling system is part of a $250 million regenerative life support system designed to sustain larger space station crews with fewer supply drop-offs from visiting spacecraft, Space.com reports; the first six-person crew (currently there are only three astronauts on board at a time when there isn't a visiting spacecraft) is due to arrive at the orbiting lab next May.
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