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International Space Station value by astronaut Chiao Leroy

One of the most experienced though retired NASA astronauts addressed the world on the importance of the International Space Station. He shared his vast experiences in two talks that took place through an online channel. 

Leroy has flown into space four times, so he has a lot to share. The first talk was a panel discussion that was held on Friday, October 30, at 7:30 p.m. EDT. He talked of how he has served the International Space Station for 20 years. Among the panelists were astronaut Nicole Scott, Susan Helms, and Jack Fisher. The moderator of the panel was Pearlman Robert. The other was an individual talk that was held on Monday, November 2, at 7 p.m. EST.  

Leroy said that it is necessary to provide continued support on the International Space Station since it is a testing ground for life support systems and research, especially biomedical. He said that long period missions are faced with many challenges, one being the health of astronauts. Leroy said this is due to a lack of exercise, leading to weakened muscles, bones, and poor blood flow. When a long-time flyer is in this condition, he/she takes an extended period to come back to normal. 

Many devices have been tested by the International Space Station to help space flyers in better health. One of these devices includes the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) that helps astronauts carry weight-lifting in microgravity. 

For Leroy flying in space has helped him also gain cultural experience apart from the technical one. To participate in his first long time mission, Leroy was trained for three and a half years. He learned the Russian language to a high level of expertise. The space flyer has also taken part in spacewalks in both the Russian Orlan suit and the NASA Extravehicular Mobility Unit suit. Leroy said there are benefits and demerits of taking part in both spacesuits though he enjoyed the experience. 

Leroy said that he had an enjoyable experience when he voted from the space in the 2004 presidential election. The ISS American crew members also shared the same in the 2020 presidential election that ended on November 3. He said that the voting process was straightforward, as he only received an email from the voting registrar with an encrypted Word file. He opened it using a password, and it was the ballot paper. Leroy sent it back, and his vote got transcribed. 

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By Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and other federal agencies. He is a graduate of Middlebury College.
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