An Army helicopter pilot and astronaut will strap into a Soyuz rocket on Monday for the trip from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station, according to a release from Army Space and Missile Defense Command.
Lt. Col. Ann McClain and her team will spend six months at the ISS as part of a crew with a slate of 250 research projects, the release said.
"The Army astronauts have a very proud legacy in the astronaut program.” McClain said. “I can tell you that just like everywhere else in the Army, the biggest attributes that we can bring to the table are leadership and team skills, and those traits that I learned in the Army as both a follower and as a leader working in austere environments with small groups in high gain tasks where lives are at risk, those traits have absolutely transferred over into my time at NASA, and I think that is the best thing that we can bring to NASA.”
McClain flew more than 800 combat hours in Iraq before becoming an astronaut candidate in 2013, according to her NASA bio.
While aboard the ISS, she’ll be part of a new experiment called “Tissues on Chips,” using miniature models of human organs to replicate their functions. The hope is that these mini-organs can be used in drug trials, to predict whether they’ll harm a person’s organs systems.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.