This data will also be valuable in the design of lunar vehicles, habitat modules, and suit hardware sizing components. Without adequate information, the impact of spinal elongation on seat positioning and fit may pose risks to crew accommodation and comfort during seated operations along with being able to ingress and egress the seats. The effectiveness of the crew may be reduced due to impaired access to displays and controls, and the selected crewmembers may not fit into seats following exposure to microgravity. Because of the criticality of the seated height dimension with respect to Orion seat layout design, the selection of crews may therefore be impacted in order to ensure fit. Through systematic measurements and analysis, it is possible to provide relevant seated height data. The proposed procedure involves measurement of crew subjects seated in the Shuttle cockpit by use of traditional anthropometry tools as well as photographic scaling. Results of the evaluation will feed into design requirements for MPCV and future vehicles as well as provide valuable insight for future human space flight programs.
Inflight Data Collection
The operator unstowed the Anthropometer assembly from the International Space Station (ISS) stowage and set it up on the commander seat in the Shuttle flight deck. Next, the operator set up the camera and mounted it in position that allowed for an orthogonal photograph of a subject in this seat. The operator took a test photograph and downlinked to the ground for the investigator team to verify correct placement before the first subject’s data collection. Upon the first subject’s arrival to the Shuttle Flight deck, the subject entered and positioned himself/herself into the commander seat. The Spinal operator made adjustments with the subject to ensure good positioning and recorded the Anthropometer value. An orthogonal photograph was taken. The subject exited the seat, and then re-entered for the second set of data points. Two rotations into the seat constituted a full session. The operator repeated the data collection with each subsequent subject participating in the study. If the operator was also a subject, the backup operator switched positions with the prime operator to collect the data on the prime operator. After the data collection was complete, the hardware was detached from the seat on the Shuttle flight deck and stowed back in ISS stowage.
Spinal elongation is the growth that occurs potentially due to the straightening of the spinal curve and with the probable expansion of the inter-vertebral discs in microgravity. The safety of the crew, the design of seats, seat layout, and suit fit are all affected by spinal elongation due to the resulting increase in height (seated as well as standing); which could lead to inadequate clearances that would have implications for the ability of crewmembers to perform their task(s) and return safely to earth. The design of the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, Orion, has a different seat configuration and layout, stacked, than the Orbiter Space Shuttle. The stacked seat layout of the Orion causes seated height to be much more critical than it was in the Shuttle, where overhead space was more plentiful due to the different seat configuration. In Orion, the crew seats are in a stacked configuration with the inner mold lining already fixed. Therefore, it is essential that all seats provide adequate growth clearance adjustments so as to ensure that the crew can safely egress and ingress their seat for a safe return to Earth. This is the same with the suit. The suit also needs to be designed to accommodate spinal growth. Fit and comfort level should also be taken into consideration.
Results from this investigation show that crewmembers experienced up to 6% seated height growth. In stature, the maximum consistent growth observed was 3%, which correlates well with the historical findings on stature height increase.
The data obtained from this experiment and the interpretation of the data analysis will be used to provide designers information regarding how microgravity affects anthropometric measurements and to update all related documents that have a reference to spinal elongation growth.
|Mission||Launch/Start Date||Landing/End Date||Duration|
|Expedition 20||05/27/2009||10/11/2009||137 days|
|Expedition 21||10/11/2009||12/01/2009||51 days|
|Expedition 22||11/30/2009||03/18/2010||109 days|
|Expedition 23||03/18/2010||06/01/2010||75 days|
|Expedition 26||11/26/2010||03/16/2011||111 days|
|Expedition 28||05/23/2011||09/15/2011||115 days|