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Dr. Dava Newman, Friday, 1-31-14 February 1, 2014

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Dr. Dava Newman, Friday, 1-31-14


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Guest:  Dr. Dava Newman.  Topic:  Dr. Newman’s BioSuit positive pressure space suit project.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  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 www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.

We welcomed Dr. Dava Newman to the program to discuss her positive pressure BioSuit spacesuit project at MIT.  During our 1 hour 1 minute single segment program, Dr. Newman took us through a brief history of positive pressure spacesuits up to and including her BioSuit version 4 project. For more information, please visit these and other websites: http://web.mit.edu/aeroastro/www/people/dnewman/bio.html; www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2013/12/10/mit-biosuit-system-dava-newman;   http://mvl.mit.edu/EVA/biosuit and http://esd.mit.edu/Faculty_Pages/newman/newman.htm. We covered many topics, fielded numerous listener email questions, and learned much about the BioSuit as well as traditional spacesuits.  The history started with Dr. Paul Webb and his efforts from the early 70’s (Dr. Webb was a guest on TSS on Sep.t. 17, 2006), then we talked about the progress in materials, designs, and engineering leading up to the BioSuit.  Dr. Newman explained how flexibility and movement were possible in the BioSuit, how this reduced the amount of energy expended by the astronaut, and even reduced some of the thermal needs.  We also talked about repairs of the suit, then we spent much time talking about the life support and EVA pack plus the helmet.  As we learned, joints and concave parts of the body like the back of the knee do present problems but they believe they have solutions to these challenges by using special materials to fill in the void spaces.  At one point, Professor Newman was asked about needing different suits for orbit, the Moon, and Mars.  As we learned, the basic suit is the same for everything but depending on the mission, different life support and EVA packs would be available.  Then we talked about a suit for inside the vehicle or the ISS, the Variable Vector Suit.  Questions came in about how the suit works, closes up, and suit economics compared to the costs of traditional spacesuits and EVA suits.  Questions about radiation protection, lunar dust protection and more was asked, plus we talked about the possibility of using the basic BioSuit for space tourism flights providing the tourist is not outside the spaceship.  During our discussion, Professor Newman went over many of the pressure issues and requirements plus other technical issues for this suit.  We also learned that it could be made operational within 2-3 years of full up funding.

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