Imagined in August 2019, Asclepios is a Space@yourService initiative project, which aims at organizing a student-led space mission analog simulating a mission on another celestial body, for educational and research purposes. It will be the very first edition worldwide of a space mission analog totally made by students, for students. Space@yourService is an EPFL association, whose objective is making space sciences more accessible. Accordingly, this project is opened to everybody, as long as you are passionate about space sciences and feel ready to commit yourself to this adventure!
Engineers are in charge of choosing the place where the mission will take place, for both astronauts and mission control. They also design the habitat astronauts will live in during the mission, and determine the experiments this team will perform and be involved in. Engineers are also responsible for the nutrition, the uniforms and the physical exercises of the astronauts. In a word, our engineers handle all the technical aspects the mission Asclepios includes.
The MCC team establishes all the procedures and takes into account every single aspect of the mission, which will directly affect the astronauts, such as psychology, nutrition and so on. They will be in direct contact with the astronaut team during the mission, to deal with anything that would happen inside the habitat, and collect information for researchers.
This team, composed by 3 men and 3 women, will perform a space mission analog in all its components: training and thorough preparation; maintain and perform repairs of their spaceship if needed; conduct scientific experiments and communicate with the ground team of MCC as would a regular space mission, during the 7-day analog mission in April 2020. The astronauts have been drafted from students all around the globe whose level of study ranges from the bachelor to the PhD.
Mission is NO-GO due to Coronavirus outbreak
3,2,1,… Wait, I’m picking up an anomaly. Abort the launch sequence.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, EPFL chosed to take sanitary measures to slow the spread of the virus. The school has therefore imposed the closure of the Lausanne campus to guests where our astronauts’ training was to take place. The launch of the Asclepios mission in April was therefore declared NO-GO by the project managers.
But a rocket has much more inertia than that, you don’t stop it with a snap of your fingers. At best, it can be deflected. The mission will therefore take place at a later date among the three backup dates planned in case of a firing incident. Far from being a half-tone failure, the postponement of the mission to the 2020/2021 school year will be exploited to ensure greater realism.