Advancing Medical Technology from Space

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Many giant leaps for mankind through thousands of NASA innovations. The Coalition for Space Exploration, the leading collaboration of space industry businesses and advocacy groups, announced today the release of a statement by board member Dr. Bernard Harris Jr., who was the first African American to walk in space and served as a mission specialist and payload commander on two Space Shuttle flights. Dr. Harris comments on the role of medical research in space and the importance of NASA, Cognress and the International Space Station (ISS) in realizing these medical breakthroughs.

Many Giant Leaps for Mankind

Already in place is a memorandum of understanding between NASA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - the first agreement between the space agency and another U.S. federal agency for use of the station as a national lab.

The Coalition for Space Exploration, the leading collaboration of space industry businesses and advocacy groups, announced today the release of a statement by board member Dr. Bernard Harris Jr., who was the first African American to walk in space and served as a mission specialist and payload commander on two Space Shuttle flights.

In recent editorials to newspapers, Harris highlights the role of medical research in space, commenting that "few may realize that a truly 'bright light' for medical research can already be viewed in Earth orbit - the International Space Station (ISS). The launch of the first ISS element took place some 10 years ago. Today, the ISS is an orbiting facility with unparalleled microgravity research capability, able to do investigative tasks that cannot be done on Earth.

"Research conducted in the microgravity of space is seen as a promising window 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 and are now partnered to make use of the United States segment of the ISS as a national laboratory. Research done onboard this orbiting outpost will open new paths for the exploration and economic development of space.

"Already in place is a memorandum of understanding between NASA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - the first agreement between the space agency and another U.S. federal agency for use of the station as a national lab."

Harris concluded, "While the benefits of space exploration extend beyond the medical arena, the breakthroughs in medicine and healthcare cannot go unnoticed or undervalued. Imagine what the next 50 years of innovation and pioneering discovery can bring, particularly onboard the ISS. This robust commitment assures that our country will continue its decades-long bond between our nation's space program and medical research…one that has yielded life-saving benefits."

To view Harris' complete comments on NASA's impact on medical research, please view Advancing Medical Technology from Space

About the Coalition for Space Exploration
The Coalition for Space Exploration is a collaboration of space industry businesses and advocacy groups whose mission is to educate and inform the public on the value and benefits of space exploration and to help ensure the United States will remain a leader in space, science and technology - key factors that will benefit every American, strengthen our nation's economy and maintain our national security. For more information, please visit the Coalition for Space Exploration

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