23 February 2011

Seedhouse Completes G-Tolerance Training

Less than a week after completing his High Altitude Indoctrination training, Astronauts4Hire member Dr. Erik Seedhouse underwent Gravity-Tolerance training at the Defence Research and Development Canada, Toronto (DRDC) centrifuge facility. The $25 million DRDC centrifuge has a 20-foot swing arm and is capable of safely spinning humans up to 9G (9 times normal gravity).

Erik performed 3 runs in the centrifuge that included gradual onset to 4G, gradual onset to 5G, and rapid onset to 5G.  He practiced the Anti-G Straining Maneuver (AGSM) for 10 seconds while at the maximum acceleration on each of the three runs.  This nearly completes Dr. Seedhouse's qualification as a Research Specialist Astronaut according to the A4H training standards, which Erik will present next week at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in Orlando, Florida. A video of Erik's centrifuge training is available here:

Passengers on suborbital flights will encounter different acceleration stresses, which this high-G training prepares them to handle. Although the vehicles have been designed to reduce these stresses, in the case of malfunction, especially during re-entry, these forces may be very large. It is therefore necessary to receive training in G-tolerance.  High rates of sustained acceleration can make it impossible to breathe, and can lead to blood pooling to such a degree to cause loss of consciousness. Given the serious consequences of these events it is important that A4H flight members understand the effects so they are able to deal with inflight events such as greyout, blackout, or even Gravity-Induced Loss of Consciousness (G-LOC).

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