Space Flight Research Program

Volunteers needed to expand the frontiers of human knowledge

The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) is working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation to investigate how laypersons will respond to the forces of acceleration that are experienced during a typical commercial spaceflight. Specifically, we wish to examine the effects of varied intensity classroom learning, and physical exposure to graduated vs. full accelerations, on your ability to tolerate the physiological stresses of a spaceflight. We are looking for persons interested in experiencing such accelerations, and willing to undergo screening designed to identify your learning style, personality, and other indicators of how you might deal with spaceflight accelerations and what kind of training you might need in preparation.

If selected, you will undergo a number of screening questionnaires, then participate in a simulated sub-orbital spaceflight experience at the National Aerospace Training and Research (NASTAR) Center centrifuge in Southampton, Pennsylvania, while having your vital signs monitored for changes with the changing forces due to acceleration. Preliminary studies have shown a predictable and stable physiological response to these forces. However, more data is needed so that the medical community can create guidelines and training programs to prepare future commercial spaceflight participants for their journey.

Before being selected for this opportunity we will need your complete medical history, including the current state of any medical condition(s) and the methods of control and treatment. We will also require a medical screening exam. If selected, you will take a number of screening questionnaires, then travel to Southampton, Pennsylvania to the NASTAR Center facilities for a two-day research study. On the days of your simulated spaceflight experience you will receive training in centrifuge operations and a brief physical exam. You will then enter and ride the centrifuge. An audiovisual experience is projected inside the gondola and as the centrifuge spins you will experience forces similar to an actual sub-orbital spaceflight. Basic medical data such as pulse rate, electrocardiogram, blood pressure, and oxygen concentration will be collected before, during, and after the simulation. We will also want you to tell us what you are feeling. During your simulated experience you will be in voice and video contact with the control room and the medical staff. You or the medical personnel can terminate the centrifuge run at any point. The data collected will be used to help create a profile of responses to acceleration with each training group.

If you are selected for this study, we will provide the simulated spaceflight experience in the NASTAR Center centrifuge for free (a $4,000 value). You must provide your own transportation to, and lodging in, the Philadelphia area. We are unable to provide additional compensation other than the simulated spaceflight experience and your satisfaction knowing you are a pioneer opening access to space for a larger group of people than ever before.

This study will be conducted during 2015, but may extend into 2016 to ensure centrifuge time for all subjects.

Please Note: participation in the study requires two days of your time, plus any travel time needed to get to Southampton, PA. The first day will be from 9:00 AM to approximately 5:00 PM. The second day will be from 9:00 AM to approximately 4:00 PM. Travel to the Philadelphia area will be required and will be at your own expense.