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NASA's 'COLBERT' Supplied by Wyle is Designed to Minimize House Calls
Date:4/21/2009

El SEGUNDO, Calif., April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- NASA's newest piece of astronaut fitness gear headed for the International Space Station, the COLBERT, is perfect for a facility that wants to avoid too many house calls for repairs.

The COLBERT is designed to go up to 150,000 miles without a belt change.

"The COLBERT represents the integrated efforts of our best engineers and scientists to deliver a highly reliable and very critical piece of flight hardware," said Jim Kukla, a group vice president at Wyle, the NASA contractor that has taken a commercial-off-the-shelf treadmill and modified it to meet spaceflight standards.

In development for more than two years, the COLBERT is scheduled to be flown to the International Space Station later this year.

Earlier this week, astronaut Sunita L. Williams, appearing on "The Colbert Report" on cable TV network Comedy Central, said NASA will name the new module Tranquility, instead of Colbert as he and his fans demanded after winning an online poll conducted by NASA.

Instead, NASA said it will christen its new exercise treadmill the Combined Operational Load-Bearing External Resistance Treadmill, aka, the COLBERT in government speak.

The International Space Station Program is planning to begin six-person operations later this year. The COLBERT is a critical countermeasure device designed to maintain crew health while on-orbit and prepare them for return to Earth. The treadmill will be housed in an "international standard payload rack" and deployed from the rack each time a crewmember uses the treadmill for exercise.

The overall approach for the COLBERT project is to utilize as much existing NASA program hardware as possible and couple it with an existing, commercially available high reliability treadmill. The treadmill and supporting subsyste
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