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Development of a Methodology to Gather Seated Anthropometry in a Microgravity EnvironmentThe Constellation Program's Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) is required to accommodate the full population range of crewmembers according to the anthropometry requirements stated in the Human-Systems Integration Requirement (HSIR) document (CxP70024). Seated height is one of many critical dimensions of importance to the CEV designers in determining the optimum seat configuration in the vehicle. Changes in seated height may have a large impact to the design, accommodation, and safety of the crewmembers. Seated height can change due to elongation of the spine when crewmembers are exposed to microgravity. Spinal elongation is the straightening of the natural curvature of the spine and the expansion of inter-vertebral disks. This straightening occurs due to fluid shifts in the body and the lack of compressive forces on the spinal vertebrae. Previous studies have shown that as the natural curvature of the spine straightens, an increase in overall height of 3% of stature occurs which has been the basis of the current HSIR requirements. However due to variations in the torso/leg ratio and impact of soft tissue, data is nonexistent as to how spinal elongation specifically affects the measurement of seated height. In order to obtain this data, an experiment was designed to collect spinal elongation data while in a seated posture in microgravity. The purpose of this study was to provide quantitative data that represents the amount of change that occurs in seated height due to spinal elongation in microgravity environments. Given the schedule and budget constraints of ISS and Shuttle missions and the uniqueness of the problem, a methodology had to be developed to ensure that the seated height measurements were accurately collected. Therefore, simulated microgravity evaluations were conducted to test the methodology and procedures of the experiment. This evaluation obtained seat pan pressure and seated height data to a) ensure that the lap restraint provided sufficient restraint to eliminate any gap between the subject s gluteal surface and the seat pan and b) to document any necessary design and procedural changes needed due to the microgravity environment. The methodology and setup used during the simulated microgravity evaluations was replicable to the proposed methodology and setup for in-space missions. A flight-like Shuttle seat, pressure sensors, anthropometer, and existing hardware was used to measure seated height and contact area while experiencing microgravity. The outlying buttock and thigh surface contact areas were collected to determine if the subjects were in contact with the seat pan, while a measurer recorded their seated height with an anthropometer. The Anthropometry and Biomechanics Facility (ABF) completed data collection from three microgravity flights to assess the restraint methods and techniques to be used for the in-flight procedures performed by the crewmembers in orbit. The first flight demonstrated that the restraint system on the seat, used in a nominal configuration, did not sufficiently restrain a person in the seat. The results showed the subjects were not in full contact with the seat pan, resulting in inaccurate sitting height data. Thus, a second flight was conducted to test different restraint system options. The results showed that by 1) changing the restraint system from the nominal 3-points of the 5-point harness, which is used for crewmembers when fully suited with emergency equipment, and 2) rerouting the lap straps around the joint of the backrest, where the backrest and seat pan are joined, resulted in the optimal method to restrain a subject. This rerouting method allowed for the anchor location to change and pull the subjects back into the seat instead of being anchored at the side of the subjects thighs. The results from the third flight validated the final restraint system, which resulted in a verified methodology for collecting seated anthropometry to ultimately determine the amount of spil elongation in a microgravity environment.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Rajulu, Sudhakar (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Young, Karen (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Mesloh, Miranda (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2009
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
3rd Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE) International Conference(Miami, Florida)
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