Broadcast 2299 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

19 Aug 2014 Dr. John Jurist, Dr. Vadim Y. Rygalov
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Guests: Dr. Vadim Rygalov, Dr. John Jurist. Topics: High altitude freefall, astronaut rescue from space and more. Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See For those listening to archives using and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience. We welcomed both Dr. Rygalov and Dr. Jurist back to the program for this one hour 39 minute discussion. Prior to starting, I suggested to the listeners that they follow along on the Power Point that has been posted to TSS blog for this program, Dr. Rygalov used this PPT during his recent ICES conference presentation in Tucson. During the first segment, Dr. Jurist started off with an overview of this work which began with graduate student USAF Captain Sara Ford several years. Dr. Jurist and Captain Ford were on the program to present her thesis work which is available in the archives from Dec. 20, 2009, John also talked about Project Moose,, and the more recent Red Bull Felix Baumgartner jump from high altitude. John also talked about the parameters his students use when working on this issue. Dr. Rygalov then explained his focus in the research and the analytical effort to describe the major characteristics of a free falling object from high altitude. Our guests talked about hitting dense atmosphere, the impact of the stratosphere and the issue of avoiding a very dangerous flat spin. Describing the process of stabilizing to avoid the flat spin presented an interesting discussion, especially as Dr. Rygalov explained out Felix Baumgartner dealt with the issue. Both guests then talked about the need to attend to the horizontal velocity if one is escaping from a space vehicle but both our guests did say that such an escape was potentially survivable. Doug called in from S. California to inquire about the Red Bull jump and the use of a drogue chute which he believed he saw in a video. John, Vadim and I suggested to Doug that a drogue chute was not deployed because of how Felix controlled the jump, plus we talked about the ground support, technology, and hardware he had to help in the jump. While Doug was talking about the use of a drogue chute with our two guests, I did a quick Google search on the issue and then read a short paragraph from a technology review of the jump at The paragraph I read explained why a drogue chute was not deployed though Doug seemed to be skeptical. While I had no way to verify what was in the article I was quoting, I encouraged Doug and others to do their own due diligence on the issue. In fact, we should all remember that if there is something we care about or have an interest in, we owe it to ourselves to do due diligence to validate what we are reading or hearing, otherwise we are at the mercy of someone else and that may prove detrimental at some point down the road. Remember, one can't go wrong trusting but always verifying. Near the end of the segment, our guests referenced the famous Joe Kittinger jump, then we discussed individual rescue and group rescue using some sort of protective shell. In the second segment, Vadim pointed us to Slide 6 of the PPT, then to slide 13 as he talked about shockwave issues following supersonic transition. Shuttle like rescues came up again and John again mentioned the Soviet experiments with the shell concept. A listener asked about sport skydiving from space which both our guests addressed. If it materializes, our guests thought it was many years out before we were able to do it safely. Vadim suggested this extreme sport would be 50-70 years in the future. Another listener emailed in a question about focusing on astronaut safety which is something NASA always talks about. He questioned if that was really their focus, why have they not developed rescue and escape systems from space. Both guests suggested the safety focus materializes in safer space vehicles, capsules, etc., not escape and rescue plans. Near the end of the program, I asked each guest for their next step in their research on this subject. In addition, they talked about what students seemed interested in and then I inquired about the level of math needed for the research as Vadim is a world class mathematician and John is very highly developed in math as well. I think you will find their replies to this question to be interesting. Before the show ended, I asked Vadim, based on his extensive experience in the old Soviet space program, about psychological issues for long duration spaceflight. The issues are very real & not easy to deal with despite what many space advocates say and think. Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog & I will make sure our guests see them in hopes for a reply. You can email either Dr. Jurist or Dr. Rygalov through me.



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