HOUSTON, Sept. 23 The Coalition for Space Exploration(http://www.spacecoalition.com), the leading collaboration of space industrybusinesses and advocacy groups, announced today the release of a statement byboard member Dr. Bernard Harris Jr., who was the first African American towalk in space and served as a mission specialist and payload commander on twoSpace Shuttle flights.
In recent editorials to newspapers, Harris highlights the role of medicalresearch in space, commenting that, "few may realize that a truly 'brightlight' for medical research can already be viewed in Earth orbit -- theInternational Space Station (ISS). The launch of the first ISS element tookplace some 10 years ago. Today, the ISS is an orbiting facility withunparalleled microgravity research capability, able to do investigative tasksthat cannot be done on Earth.
"Research conducted in the microgravity of space is seen as a promisingwindow into drug treatments for such crippling afflictions as diabetes,Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, pancreatic cancer, cystic fibrosis and hemophilia."
Harris went on to comment, "NASA and Congress realize these benefits andare now partnered to make use of the United States segment of the ISS as anational laboratory. Research done onboard this orbiting outpost will open newpaths for the exploration and economic development of space.
"Already in place is a memorandum of understanding between NASA and theNational Institutes of Health (NIH) -- the first agreement between the spaceagency and another U.S. federal agency for use of the station as a nationallab."
Harris concluded, "While the benefits of space exploration extend beyondthe medical arena, the breakthroughs in medicine and healthcare cannot gounnoticed or undervalued. Imagine what the next 50 years of innovation andpioneering discovery can bring, particularly onboard the ISS. This robustcommitment assures that our country will continue its decades-long bondbetween our nation's space program and medical research ... one that hasyielded life-saving benefits."
To view Harris' complete comments on NASA's impact on medical research,please view http://www.spacecoalition.com/Published_Op-Eds.cfm.
About the Coalition for Space Exploration
The Coalition for Space Exploration is a collaboration of space industrybusinesses and advocacy groups whose mission is to educate and inform thepublic on the value and benefits of space exploration and to help ensure theUnited States will remain a leader in space, science and technology - keyfactors that will benefit every American, strengthen our nation's economy andmaintain our national security. For more information, please visithttp://www.spacecoalition.com.
SOURCE The Coalition for Space Exploration