Broadcast 1358 (Special Edition)

06 May 2010 Dr. Erik Seedhouse
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Guest: Dr. Erik Seedhouse. Topics: Astronaut training process, human spaceflight. Dr. Erik Seedhouse returned to discuss with his book, "Prepare For Launch: The Astronaut Training Process." This book is available through the One Giant Leap Foundation (OGLF) Amazon partners page and if you buy it through this URL, Amazon contributes to The Space Show/OGLF: www.amazon.com/dp/1441913491?tag=onegialeafou-20. In our first segment, Dr. Seedhouse said that all national space agencies more or less follow the same astronaut training process. He talked about the number of applicants for the Canadian Space Agency, ESA, and NASA followed by how many are actually selected by each agency. He also suggested that winning candidates spend their academic and professional careers working toward the goal of becoming an astronaut. He talked about the academic background required for pilots and crew members. You won't want to miss this discussion. Toward the end of this segment, I brought up the part of his book that focuses on making very hard decisions in the arena of spaceflight bioethics. Again, don't miss this discussion. Erik compared the decision making process to decisions made by earlier remote expeditions and sailing ventures, suggesting that in the end the mission captain will have to make the decision for bioethical issues, in conjunction with doctors on the ground, possible family members, and the crew. As Dr. Seedhouse indicated, this type of analysis and problem solving does not yet appear in formal astronaut training but will when we get closer to long duration spaceflight. In our second segment, we talked about age and other requirements for astronaut training. As it turns out, some nations have strict age guidelines which we do not have in the U.S. Dr. Seedhouse also outlined what is covered in the basic 18 month training course. I asked if emotional or psychological training was part of it and he said no because the astronauts are considered professional and don't require it. For private astronaut training such as might be used by Bigelow Aerospace, there might very well be some training in this area. Listeners asked our guest about sex in space and astronauts. This was a topic discussed on and off throughout the program. We started the third segment by talking about the period leading up to launch. He described the personal gear astronauts take with them, the family escort process, and quarantine ten days before a launch. We also talked about astronaut fear factor riding the rocket, space sickness, and more. In fact, the issue of space sickness dominated the balance of this segment and we extrapolated to what may happen with private spaceflight participants. In the final segment, we looked at future astronaut training and how such training might evolve over time. Dr. Seedhouse compared suborbital with orbital and missions beyond LEO. Artificial gravity was brought up and then Erik talked about the private astronaut market. In concluding his comments, he said that those that make it into the program and become astronauts have to have an absolute burning ambition and passion to be an astronaut. If you have comments or questions for Dr. Erik Seedhouse, please email him at DrErikSeedhouse@hotmail.com.

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