NASA Astronaut Scott D. Tingle (Captain, U.S. Navy) is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station next month. Phil Paleologos had a rare opportunity to talk about his upcoming launch on Friday, December 1st. The interview originated from the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia.

Captain Tingle was raised in nearby Randolph. He went to Blue Hills Regional Vocational Technical High School in Canton and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineer from UMass Dartmouth (then called Southeastern Massachusetts University). He earned a Master of Science from Purdue University.

According to NASA's press release, "Tingle is one of nine members of the 20th NASA astronaut class, selected in July 2009. His astronaut training has included scientific and technical briefings; intensive instruction in space station systems, spacewalks and robotics; physiological training; T-38 flight training; and water and wilderness survival training."

Tingle's mission is plant related, in that he and his crewmates will investigate the growth of a common grass species in the microgravity environment of space. "The grasses grow from seedlings aboard the station and are returned as frozen samples to Earth-based labs for detailed analysis and comparison with Earth based control groups."

Understanding how different plants grow in space can result in improved life support system design and resource planning for long-term space missions. It also provides a better understanding of grass and cereal crop stress response systems that can be applied in agriculture, habitat restoration, and natural resource management on Earth. Results from this experiment also advance comparative understanding of how plants use genetic and biomolecular systems to protect themselves under stressful conditions.

You can follow Tingle on Twitter and Instagram.

Scott Tingle was selected by NASA in 2009 and is currently assigned to the International Space Station Expeditions 53 and 54 that is scheduled to launch aboard Soyuz 52-S.