Reach Performance While Wearing the Space Shuttle Launch and Entry Suit During Exposure to Launch Accelerations 901357

During the launch phase of a Space Shuttle mission, the crew is subjected to sustained linear accelerations of up to 3Gx. The objective of this study was to quantify the crew's reach performance while wearing the currently used Launch and Entry Suit (LES) under both a 1Gx and a 3Gx load, which is the maximum acceleration ever experienced during a launch. Four veteran astronaut/pilots were test subjects for this study. Quantitative data was obtained from photogrammetric data captured while each subject rode the Brooks Air Force Base centrifuge and performed a variety of reach tasks. At 3Gx the subjects showed small changes of reach capability in the +x (forward) direction which ranged from an improvement of 2.04 cm to a decrease of 14.4 cm. Surprisingly, reach performance in the +z (overhead) direction was improved in three of four subjects indicating that any task which could be accomplished while exposed to 1Gx could definitely be done at 3Gx. The data from this study demonstrated that Shuttle crews in training can expect to maintain all of the overhead reach capability evident in good simulator runs and suffer only moderate degradation in the forward reach performance during the launch phase of an actual Shuttle mission.


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