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NASA’s Commercial Suborbital Research Program

Overview
Yvonne Cagle, M.D.
IPT Project Manager
Col. USAF, Ret.
(Flight Surgeon)
NASA Ames Research Center

17 July 2009

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NASA’s Commercial Suborbital Research Program
4 Minutes of Microgravity

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4 Minutes
NASA’s Commercial of Microgravity
Suborbital Research Program

A is for Airway
4 Minutes to Save a Life in Microgravity
■ The human body has 4 minutes of useful brain function in a deoxygenated state

Airway Pack - Example of Medical Challenges in Microgravity:


Contact Surfaces Fluid Management
◆ Power ports and batteries ◆ Tubings
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◆ Timers ◆ Water-sealed plastic casings
◆ Tape and velcro
◆ Connectors
◆ Writing instruments and boards
◆ Hardware attachment points
◆ Data capture and downlinks
◆ Software and monitors
◆ Sensors and contact points ◆ Fluids and gels
◆ Trash containment ◆ Ventilation bag and balloons
◆ Restraints, tethers ◆ Portable ventilator
◆ Light bulbs and suction devices
◆ Stethoscopes ◆ Syringes and sharps safety
◆ Inflated Masks 3
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4 Minutes of Microgravity

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Testing Emergency Procedures

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Science
Technology Development

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NASA’s Commercial Suborbital Research Program

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NASA’s Commercial Suborbital Research Program

Workshops

Human Suborbital
Provider-Investigator
Workshop
Dec. 15, 2008

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Provider-Investigator
Workshop
May 3, 2009
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■ Sensing ■ Resistive Exercise Devices
■ Climaterics ■ Inner Ear Neural Signal
■ Vertical Atmospheric Sampling ■ Dust Particle Agglomeration
■ Gene Expression ■ Metal Alloy Phase Separation
■ Fluids ■ Glovebox Investigations
■ Physiology ■ Combustion
■ Emergency Procedures ■ IR and NIR Optics
■ Countermeasures ■ Technology Testing
■ Cardiovascular Deconditioning ■ STEM Education
■ Workforce Development ■ Cell Cultures
NASA’s Commercial Suborbital Research Program

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NASA’s Commercial Suborbital Research Program

Why Suborbital?

Sounding Commercial
Parabolic Flights
Rockets Suborbital

Cost $0.5M - $1.2M $200K $8K

Time in
Microgravity 20 minutes 4 minutes 23 seconds
(Continuous)
Quality of
High High Comparatively Low
Microgravity

Launch Once every 6 Multiple flights per Multiple flights per


Frequency months day possible day possible

Maximum g-
20 g 2 Ð4 g 2 Ð4 g
Loading

Human Tended
No Yes Yes
Science
Comparing commercial suborbital research platforms
with two other microgravity research platforms 10
NASA’s Commercial Suborbital Research Program

Benefits

■ Through a user-focused program, NASA-sponsored researchers, engineers,


technologists and educators would be able to conduct hands-on activities in
near-space for the first time.

■ This new environment provides several technical benefits to NASA


◆ Reducing the risk for use of new technologies in future missions
◆ Exploring novel environments to make new discoveries
◆ Access to 3-4 minutes of microgravity for discovery and testing
◆ Routine recovery of payload
◆ Frequent flights

■ Provides new options for career development and public engagement


◆ Inspiring new careers in aerospace,
◆ Training the workforce of the future,
◆ Providing a competitive edge for the new commercial space industry
◆ Creating greater excitement in the space program
■ Provides a competitive edge for U.S. commercial space industry
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