Check out this clip from last week’s episode of BBC2’s Astronauts series, where Tim, a cosmochemistry PhD student attempts to handle a tricky helicopter training session! http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05cgntr
Your Spaceflight – The Book
Your Spaceflight, Your Safety is the upcoming book from renowned space safety expert, Dr Andy Quinn. The book is a must-read primer for astronauts-in-training participating in the next space race.
The book covers all the questions that suborbital astronauts signed up to fly with Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin should be asking. From an in-depth analysis of current operators to a look at the next-generation spaceports being constructed as we speak, the book also has relevance to regulatory bodies, industry partners and journalists looking for insight and analysis on this nascent market.
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Sign up to receive a free copy of Your Spaceflight, Your Safety. Alongside Dr Andy Quinn’s expert analysis and recommendations, you’ll find glorious illustrations and stunning images from across the commercial spaceflight industry.
Quotes from the book
Not all people will be able to fly to the edge of space – this is no carnival fair ride. Yes, for those of us whom are fit and healthy and have experienced acceleration forces in the centrifuge or in fast jets, then the suborbital flight will be thrilling and fun and wondrous. So are you fit to fly? Well let’s see how fit and healthy you should be. [p.28]
The purpose of the training is to prepare your mind and your body for an exciting but unnatural experience. So operators need to provide you with both physiological and psychological experiences to enable you to cope with and therefore enjoy the spaceflight. It is no use if you pass out for 10 seconds on the 3g pull-up and then spend another 20 seconds doing the funky chicken or just getting your bearings before being turned upside down and you losing your situational awareness and being sick (in particularly anywhere near the pilot(s)). [p.32]
So the Safety Management System can be seen as the ‘glue that binds’ all of the disparate activities. However, safety management (the glue) is effective only if integrated from the beginning. If safety management only starts later in a project it will only really be filling in the cracks as opposed to building a solid foundation of safety into the spaceship design from the start. [p.53]
Suborbital spacecraft are not certified to (these) airworthiness requirements and nor should they be – the industry cannot afford the flight test criteria required by aerospace design and manufacture whereby the development costs would be recuperated by mass sales (to meet the mass market) – hence this is why the levels of safety will never be the same. [p.64]
Pioneering ventures will be inherently riskier for the suborbital front-runners compared to those 2nd or 3rd tier players in any nascent industry. Flying to the edge of space during these pioneering flights will take suborbital astronauts with that ‘extra-factor’; adventurers with that risk-taking mentality, and that bias towards believing your flight will be fine. [p.74]
Also remember that if you do have a medical condition and that means you cannot fly just now, this may be due to a lack of medical data and the operators just don’t want to take the chance – they really do want to be 100% inclusive but they do have a duty of care and will let you know if you should wait until more data has been collated and analysed. This data is not just from the flights but from the centrifuge and other training activities. So if you are not flying for a while then get in shape so you can enjoy the flight a bit betterJ [p.82]