F1 duo starstruck by astronauts’ ‘mission for the great of humanity’

In the present day they’re drivers for Toro Rosso’s Method 1 group, however touring to area was a childhood dream for 23-year-old Frenchman Pierre Gasly and 25-year-old Russian Daniil Kvyat.
And forward of the US Grand Prix in Austin, the F1 duo loved a grand tour of NASA’s Johnson House Middle in Houston.

This 12 months marks the 50th anniversary of the primary Moon landings. NASA, established in 1958, is the US company for area exploration and analysis.

“I’ve at all times dreamed of visiting this place,” mentioned Gasly. “To talk with astronauts who’re at present in area, it is one thing I’ve by no means imagined. It is a actually particular expertise.”

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Their journey started with a spin in a moon rover — prime pace of about 45 miles per hour — exterior the middle. The course resembles a rocky lunar panorama for the six-wheeler, which is designed to resist moon mud and particles.

From Mission Management, the pair dialed Luca Parmitano, commander on the Worldwide House Station (ISS). Spinning in orbit 260 miles above, Parmitano chatted about life in area with Kyvat and Gasly, in Italian and French respectively.

Astronauts on the ISS comply with a every day two-hour exercise to stop accelerated muscle and bone density loss, with weights tailored to a micro-gravity surroundings.

ISS astronauts conduct wide-ranging analysis, from cosmic rays to stem cells, whereas Mission Management in Houston gives a key level of communication with Earth.

“To see Luca there, with no gravity — it was so cool to really feel so related to one thing that is so far-off from you,” mentioned Kvyat.

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Within the House Automobile Mockup Facility, the drivers noticed the equipment that prepares pilots and engineers for his or her voyages to the ISS. Escorted by astronauts, Gasly and Kvyat stopped by a mannequin of the Cupola, a dome with seven home windows the place ISS inhabitants can watch over the blue planet.

For spacewalk coaching, NASA takes its recruits underneath water. Astronauts don area fits to coach in a purpose-built, 6.2-million-gallon pool. By simulating a weightless surroundings, the pool helps astronauts to good their guide expertise earlier than leaving Earth.

Regardless of the grueling health necessities for F1 drivers — who, like astronauts, expertise g-forces that put excessive stress on the physique’s cardiovascular system — Kvyat was awed by NASA’s coaching routine

“What we do is sport — pure competitors,” mentioned the Russian driver. “What these guys are doing right here is extra like a mission for the great of humanity.”

Kvyat and Gasly took 12th and 16th positions in Sunday’s race, with Valtteri Bottas from Finland claiming victory with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Crew. In second place, Lewis Hamilton grew to become the second most profitable F1 driver of all time, with six world titles to his title.

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