Buckle Up — Largers Windows & Crash Safety in Commercial Space — Another angle to Jeff Bezos’ talk at the National Space Symposium
Blue Origin (and Amazon) Founder Jeff Bezos took the main stage this afternoon for a fireside chat with GeekWire’s Space & Tech Editor, Alan Boyle, at the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.
The two explored lowering the cost of space so that we can enter the very exciting entrepreneurial times ahead.
“This is Blue Origin’s mission,” he said. “Our mission is to try and put in place some of that heavy-lifting infrastructure, and make access to space much lower-cost, so that thousands of entrepreneurs can do amazing and interesting things and take us into the next era….We only need two things to be able to do it: reusability, and practice.”
But something that really stood out to me, that might have been hard to pick out among all of these other incredible points made, was a direct share and update to what the Blue Origins team is doing on the topic of passenger safety.
Part of the practice equation is not just getting the science correct for the complexities in the launch or re-entry. And when making a passenger space vehicle, designed for both function, payload, and operation, as much comfort available to the technology you need to think about things like cabin pressure, seating, visibility, and entering/exiting the cabin.
Boyle joked with Mr. Bezos that the human dummy talks back.
But getting there and coming back himself up for the crash dummy test to demo alongside a traditional crash-test dummy was a human demo of the the two shoot out, two fault safe system that is built into the Blue Origin vehicles. That even if two parachutes fail to deploy, there will be redundancies and fail safe protocol in place. In the photos below, Mr. Bezos special impact seats.
Passenger safety is not as romantic of a story as the bigger, badder, and seriously cool (and sometimes devastating) launches and landings that we have been seeing. But in the excitement around these big hurdles leaped over in space innovation needs to also highlight the STEM heavy engineering that goes into seats and windows aboard the New Shepard.
It’s hard not to get excited about the potential to get to space. To see it, work there, or even sleep overnight. But the comfort of the passenger is always a regulatory measure. What will it look like for private launches and trips?
NASA issued a paper in 2011 consideration for seat, flight, and passenger safety back in 2011. There has not been much published in or around this subject in the private space or even easily found in the public domain.
“During reentry, the vehicle’s acceleration direction and magnitude produces a changing resultant acceleration vector of different direction and magnitude when coupled with the increasing effects of gravity.”
Blue Origin is also testing and installing what will be the largest windows in space. Pre-capsule that will bring passengers on journey. In the video that Mr. Bezos previewed for our audience today. Demonstrated a 1000x speed video on testing the pressurization and the installation of the windows to the crew capsule.
As the human element to space travel takes flight, we need to focus on issues such as new protocol for safety and travel wide standards.