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HAL revisits space


Mon, Jan 7th 2019 02:05 pm

The Historical Association of Lewiston’s January program is titled, “HERA – NASA’s Human Exploration Research Analog.” The event will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Lutheran Church of the Messiah Fellowship Hall, 915 Oneida St.

Ronald Franco will present what it was like to spend 30 days in a space simulation habitat – a three-story structure with an airlock that is located in the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

HAL’s press release stated, “As we begin reaching out farther into the solar system, it’s important to identify and solve as many challenges as possible prior to actual missions. While participating in HERA Mission X, he was involved in 27 national and international research programs.

“NASA is very good at simulation. From launch to splashdown, Ron often felt like he was on an actual mission to intercept an asteroid. They prepared and ate the same food as on the International Space Station, lived on a similar schedule, and responded to simulations of what could occur in-flight. Just like the astronauts on-station, Ron had weekly personal, medical and psychological private conferences via Mission Control communication. As they simulated getting farther from Earth, the (communications) delay with Mission Control increased until it took about 10 minutes to send a message.”

When not up in the air, Franco lives in Lockport. He has been flying for American Airlines since 1999 and is a retired Air Force pilot. He trained in the supersonic T-38 Talon jet trainer. Closer to home, most of his career was spent flying the C-130 Hercules out of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. He flew combat operations during Desert Storm and the Gulf War.

Franco earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

This community event is free and open to all, and refreshments will be served.

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