New radiation vest technology protects astronauts, doctors
by Staff Writers
Orlando FL (UPI) Dec 25, 2020
NASA is testing a space radiation protection vest aboard the International Space Station that could shield astronauts from deadly solar flares on missions to the moon and Mars.
Solar storms with high doses of radiation are among the biggest threats to astronauts on deep space missions. The worst such storms could make space flyers too sick to function and eventually kill them.
The new vest is designed with flexible polyethylene shapes to fit men or women and protect their most vulnerable organs.
"We are trying to see if astronauts can wear it as long as possible, without experiencing pain or discomfort," said Oren Milstein, co-founder and CEO of vest maker StemRad, which is based in Tampa and in Tel Aviv, Israel.
"Several astronauts will wear the vest, with eight hours as the longest period, while sleeping," Milstein said.
Northrop Grumman's Cygnus cargo capsule delivered StemRad's space vest, called AstroRad to the space station in November 2019. Since then, astronauts have tested the vest, though NASA doesn't usually confirm who is involved in medical-related experiments.
StemRad has helped develop the AstroRad vest based on its 360 Gamma shield vest that protects first responders who must cover radioactive scenes.
Milstein helped found the company in 2011 partly in response to stories of firefighter deaths after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Russia.
StemRad is developing the vest for Lockheed Martin, which is the contractor responsible for the Orion crew capsule on NASA's planned Artemis moon missions.
Orion includes a space radiation protection chamber or closet that can be pulled over astronauts in a crisis, but that would only be viable for short periods, Milstein said. Radiation storms in space can last for days or weeks.
The vest provides targeted protection for the pelvis - where large amounts of bone marrow can absorb radiation - and other organs such as the lungs, breasts and ovaries, Milstein said.
"Trying to protect the entire body means adding a lot of weight," he said. "You can protect in a reasonable way, a fraction of your body, or a part of your body that happens to be the more sensitive part."
The space vest is produced at a cost of about $1 million each, Milstein said, but the Israel Space Agency is providing it as part of its contribution to the international Artemis moon mission effort.
The vest on the space station now is a smaller version designed for women, but Milstein said a male astronaut will wear it at some point.
NASA posted a brief note about testing in mid-December said astronauts continue to try out the vest.
"The AstroRad shields astronauts from space-borne ionizing radiation in an efficient way, provides operational simplification, and allows for the use of recycled material on-board the vehicle," according to the NASA update.
In the meantime, StemRad also has distributed limited new radiation suits for doctors and radiologists on Earth, who face elevated radiation exposure due to medical scanning equipment and radiation treatment.
The medical suit, called StemRad MD, provides both ease of use and better protection due to a heavy lead garment suspended by an exoskeleton frame that fits on the outside of the wearer's legs, said Jean Bismuth, 53, a specialist in vascular surgery at Houston Methodist hospital in Texas. He's had the suit since October.
"I was astonished when I first got it. I ran the hallways. I can sit and operate or I can stand," Bismuth said. "You have to have a little space awareness because the frames are on the outside of your legs, but this is an improvement for ergonomics and safety."
Source: United Press International
Microchip adds COTS 64Mbit flash memory device to its radiation-tolerant lineup
Chandler AZ (SPX) Dec 16, 2020
To reduce the time, cost and risk of developing spaceflight-qualified systems, designers may start with Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) devices that can later be replaced by their space-qualified, radiation-tolerant equivalent parts available in plastic or ceramic packages featuring the same pinout distribution. Microchip Technology Inc. has announced a radiation-tolerant, 64 Megabit (Mbit) parallel-interface SuperFlash memory device with unrivaled Total Ionizing Dose (TID) tolerance for maximum r ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.|