10 June 2019 – KBR (NYSE: KBR), is proud to be part of the groundbreaking NASA Twins Study, whose newly published findings will help prepare humans for long-term space travel and propel NASA closer to its recently announced goal of sustaining a permanent lunar presence.
KBR experts, Dr. Marisa Covington and Dr. Stuart Lee, played integral roles in NASA’s first full genetic sequencing study, as did other KBR employees who supported investigator teams, data collection, review boards, logistics, inflight engineering support, project management and other areas.
The study assessed the impact of spaceflight on the genetic expression, cognitive function and human physiology. Astronaut Scott Kelly spent almost a year in space onboard the International Space Station (ISS), while his twin brother and former astronaut Mark Kelly remained on Earth. Researchers on 10 different teams meticulously analyzed data characterizing the twins’ health and physiology before, during and after the 340 day mission.
Covington, a KBR program integration and strategic planning manager, served as the study’s coordinator, integrating the science of the 10 complex investigations. Her work helped provide a much clearer picture of how genetic data, like biomarkers, can be used for future investigations and the development of personalized medicine for exploration space missions.
She also worked with each of the study leads and their teams to confirm research activities complied with federal and NASA policy to ensure the safety and protection of the Kelly twins.
Lee, a KBR lead research scientist supporting Johnson Space Center’s Cardiovascular and Vision Laboratory, was the principal investigator of the Metabolomics study. This study investigated whether prolonged spaceflight exposure results in an accelerated progression of atherosclerosis, or the “hardening” of arteries. He was also the co-investigator of the Proteomics study, which focused on potential changes to the eyes in space.
According to Lee, the results from the Twins Study will help guide NASA in its care of astronauts during and after spaceflight and will serve as a baseline to compare findings when astronauts venture beyond low Earth orbit where the health risks associated with increased radiation exposure would become evident.
“The information our experts like Drs. Lee and Covington helped NASA glean from this study has immediate relevance in light of the agency’s plan to be on the moon by 2024,” said Byron Bright, President, Government Solutions U.S. “This is just one example of how KBR is already working with NASA to achieve this goal and pioneering the future of deep space exploration.”
KBR has provided mission-critical space support services to NASA and other customers for more than 60 years. It currently operates at 11 NASA centers and facilities and supports work in the areas of space technology, aeronautics, science, exploration and operations. KBR is one of the world’s largest human spaceflight support organizations, caring for the physical and psychological wellbeing of every astronaut since 1968. KBR is a leading solutions provider to the civil, military and commercial space segments.