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Space Colonies - Lunar Settlements: Chapter 6. Working In Space
 

Space Colonies - Lunar Settlements: Chapter 6. Working In Space

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    Space Colonies - Lunar Settlements: Chapter 6. Working In Space Space Colonies - Lunar Settlements: Chapter 6. Working In Space Document Transcript

    • 6 Working in Space Terry Hart Professor of Practice, Lehigh University and Former NASA Astronaut Terry Hart graduated in 1964 from Mt. Lebanon High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engi- neering from Lehigh University in 1968, a Master of Science degree in mechan- ical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969, a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from Rutgers University in 1978, and an honorary Doctorate of Engineering from Lehigh University in 1988. Dr. Hart began his career with Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1968 and was initially responsible for the mechanical design of magnetic tape trans- port systems. In 1969 he began a 4-year leave of absence with the Air Force, where he flew over 3200 hours in high-performance fighters before retiring from the Air National Guard as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1990. After return- ing from active duty in the Air Force in 1973, he worked in the Electronic Power Systems Laboratory where he was responsible for the mechanical and electrical design of power converters. He received two patents, one for a mechanical safety device and another for a noise suppression circuit. In January 1978, Hart was selected by NASA as one of 35 astronaut candidates, and after one year of training and evaluation, he was assigned to the support crew of the first three Space Shuttle missions. On April 6, 1984, he lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in the Challenger on the eleventh flight of the Space Shuttle program, during which he was responsible for the rendez- vous navigation and targeting, the remote manipulator system operation, and the IMAX camera operation. The mission objectives of deploying the long duration exposure facility and repairing the solar maximum mission satellite were successfully accomplished and demonstrated new capabili- ties in manned space flight. Upon his return from NASA in 1984, Hart held a variety of management positions in Bell Labs and led several projects in systems and software engineering, including an assignment as director of the Government Data Systems Division of AT&T in Stockholm, Sweden. He returned from Europe in 1991 as director of Satellite Engineering and Operations for AT&T and in 1997 became president of Loral Skynet when AT&T sold its satellite division to Loral Space and Communications. Hart retired from Skynet in 2004 and is currently teaching aerospace engineering 63© 2010 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC
    • 64 Lunar Settlements at his alma mater, Lehigh University. Dr. Hart is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Tau Beta Pi engineering society, the Sigma Xi scientific society, and the Aviation Hall of Fame in New Jersey. Hart has been awarded the New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the NASA Space Flight Medal, the Delta Upsilon Medallion, the Rutgers University Medal, the Pride of Pennsylvania Medal, and was inducted into the Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni. Lehigh University and Former NASA Astronaut. Figure 6.1 Ed White proved people can work in space. Since the first cosmonauts and astronauts walked in space, we have been climbing a continuous learning curve of how people can work productively in space. The effects of weightlessness and the physical limitations of pres- sure suits and spacecraft designs continue to challenge crews as ever-more sophisticated tasks are being accomplished. And while we have come a long way in our ability to work in space, much needs to be done if we are to return to the moon with a permanent pres- ence and venture on to Mars. Such long-duration missions will put new chal- lenges on engineers and crews to adjust to the physical and psychological demands of these missions. With international cooperation, these challenges© 2010 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC
    • Working in Space 65 will be met and crews will learn to work effectively as we establish a perma- nent presence in space. In 1960 at a medical conference on the anticipated effects of weightlessness on astronauts, several papers were presented by researchers who were con- cerned about the ability of humans to survive in space. One paper expressed doubt that the first astronauts could breathe effectively; another stated that they certainly could not eat solid food and may not be able to swallow water. A third dismally projected that sleep would be difficult, if not impossible, in weightlessness, and the lack of it would possibly lead to delusionary behav- ior and even psychosis. Figure 6.2 Ham, the first American in space. As a result of this overwhelming pessimism, the first American in space was … Ham, the chimpanzee. Fortunately, Ham did just fine and not only survived, but was able to perform all of the tasks he was trained to do with no obvious ill-effects from the space environment. You would think that the medical community would have backed off after this good news, but their overly conservative attitudes about the ability of people to work effectively in space continued until the astronauts conclusively demonstrated that the human body can adapt and even prosper in this new environment. The “Original 7” astronauts (in front of their F-106 training aircraft) flew six missions in the Mercury capsules and showed beyond a doubt that© 2010 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC
    • 66 Lunar Settlements Figure 6.3 The original seven. people could survive and even work effectively in space. But much was yet to be learned about working in space, and some hard lessons lay ahead. It was during the two-man Gemini flights that we began to understand that weightlessness would pose a host of new problems. Ed White became the first American to “walk” in space, and while this first attempt was a suc- cess, a hint of future problems came as we learned just how easily cables and tethers become tangled. Early thoughts of using hand-held gas guns to easily propel ourselves through space (Figure 6.5) were quickly dispelled as we learned the difficulties of maneuvering in weightlessness. Spacewalkers became exhausted and visors fogged up as they struggled to overcome the awkwardness of working without the help of gravity. But we learned quickly how to work effectively in space with help of the design of a variety of tools and support fixtures to assist the astronauts in each task they encountered. By the time we began the Apollo program, we had honed these skills and were able to successfully operate between the Earth and the Moon. And with the lunar landings came a new environment: one-sixth gravity on the Moon. It was difficult to simulate this environment on Earth, but the use of a variety of cables and pulleys gave the astronauts some idea of what they would need to do to balance themselves and move about the surface of the Moon. When we began to operate on the Moon, the astronauts learned just how quickly we could adapt to this environment. The famous photo of John Young saluting the flag as he jumps three feet off the surface of the Moon with several hundred pounds of equipment demon- strated our ability to adjust to new environments once again.© 2010 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC
    • Working in Space 67 Figure 6.4 Tethers provide safety, but become a problem. Figure 6.5 Self propelling devices proved unuseable.© 2010 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC
    • 68 Lunar Settlements And while we undoubtedly underestimated man’s ability to adjust to some aspects of spaceflight, we did not anticipate a host of other problems that had to be solved in real time. The ingenious design of the lunar rover allowed the astronauts to explore much more of the Moon’s surface, but no one had antic- ipated how the rover’s tires would fling the lunar soil into the “air” and cover the crew and the vehicle with the highly abrasive dust. The crew improvised by using a checklist as a fender, and once again man’s ability to solve prob- lems in real-time was demonstrated with the help of a little duct tape. Figure 6.6 John Young jumps three feet into the “air.” Apollo was followed with three long-term missions to Skylab, but before these missions could be flown, Skylab needed some repair. A solar panel had torn off during launch leaving the laboratory overheated and without sufficient power. The first flight became a rescue mission and the crew suc- cessfully repaired the damage and created a sunshield that stabilized the temperatures inside the laboratory. The role of astronauts in overcoming unanticipated problems in space with improvised solutions was now well- accepted, quite a change from the early concerns about man’s ability to even survive in space. As we moved into the Space Shuttle program, ever more sophisticated tools and training techniques were developed to support the astronauts as© 2010 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC
    • Working in Space 69 Figure 6.7 Lunar dust kicks up from the rover’s tires. Figure 6.8 An improvised sunscreen was installed on Skylab to lower its interior temperature and save the mission.© 2010 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC
    • 70 Lunar Settlements they undertook new tasks in space. The most effective training environment on Earth has been the Weightless Environment Training Facility (WETF), a full underwater mockup of the Space Shuttle’s payload bay. This facility has enabled engineers and crews to design the handholds, footholds, and tools they have needed to accomplish evermore complex tasks in space. Long duration missions in the Russian Mir space station similarly have greatly added to our knowledge and our ability to work in space. Figure 6.9 The WETF provides the best weightless training on Earth. Figure 6.10 The International Space Station.© 2010 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC
    • Working in Space 71 Now the exploration of space has become a truly international endeavor with astronauts and cosmonauts from many nations routinely living and working on the International Space Station. We will return to the Moon someday soon, and go on to Mars as well. The long-term effects of weight- lessness and the radiation of space will pose new problems that will need creative solutions, and there will be many new lessons to learn before we can maintain a permanent presence beyond the Earth orbit – but there is no doubt now that people can adjust and even prosper in space. And when historians look back on our times, they may well conclude that the most significant benefit of the space program has been the unifying effort of the nations of the world to live and work in space for the benefit of all of us on the good Earth. Figure 6.11 Crews from many nations live and work effectively together in space.© 2010 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC
    • © 2010 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC