Broadcast 455 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

05 Feb 2006 Dr. Harvey Wichman
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Dr. Harvey Wichman was the guest for this special Space Show program. As Dr. Wichman is an expert in human factors for space travel, suborbital as well as orbital, plus since he is the director of the Aerospace Psychology Lab at Claremont McKenna College having done various human experiments simulating space flight and cabin condition, we spent a significant amount of time discussing the wide range of factors that can and do impact people in space. Dr. Wichman was superb at breaking down what factors concern suborbital, orbital, and long term space flight. We made comparisons to humans in airplanes and at different altitudes and pressures. We discussed radiation and the impact on men and women. We even delved into the world of the rather "unmentionables" on the radio as we got a graphic description of using a space toilet and treating human waste. We even got a crash course on how vomit in special bags were one to experience space sickness. Dr. Wichman also stressed the importance of minimizing the G-force for humans, especially tourists, both in ascending and descending in space travel.. Pulling more than 2-3 G's was most likely unwise and even risky. He also talked about the importance of making sure space travelers got their money's worth for the trip, suborbital or orbital. He talked about the need to have very reliable cabins so that passengers did not need space suits but if such cabin pressurization systems were not sufficiently reliable and redundant, then he, like other guests, talked about the necessity of using space suits though they will be very uncomfortable and might cause the loss of paying customers. He also said it was very important to have the passengers experience Zero G and not a roller coaster type of Zero G. He mentioned loosely fitting straps or ways to allow the passenger to float free and if for whatever reason the passenger could not return to his seat and strap in prior to reentry, the cabin would be designed with safe zones in it so the passenger could lodge into a safe zone and safely "ride out" the return to Earth. Lots of other interesting design and requirements for humans in space are discussed during this interview so don't miss it. Dr. Wichman is one of the top authorities in the world on these subjects so I know you will want to hear what he has to say, offer, and suggest, especially given his commitment to see space tourism flourish as we become truly space-faring. You can send your questions or comments to Dr. Wichman to me at drspace@thespaceshow.com and I will forward them to him for a prompt reply.

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