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Last week a delegation of members of the Austrian Space Forum travelled to Cologne for an Aouda.X spacesuit-simulator presentation at ESA’s European Astronauts Centre (EAC).
We arrived on Tuesday evening following a dinner with “Doctor Moon” Prof. Dr. Walter Kühnegger who worked as an engineer and orthopaedist at NASA. He made significant contributions to NASA’s Apollo Missions in the 60s. The austrian-born Walter Kühnegger left Europe some years after World War 2 and then worked at NASA predecessor NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. An audio interview with Walter Kühnegger (in German) is available on our podcast page.
On Wednesday we prepared our servers, computers and instruments for the presentations in the large EAC training hall surrounded by ISS module mockups: what an astonishing location. After lunch the students of King’s College London arrived. Gernot Grömer started the presentation with the AoudaX spacesuit-simulator. After the donning the students were encouraged to lead our analogue astronaut Ulrich Luger through various tasks, like setting up a transmitter or collecting rock samples, while watching the biomedical data of Ulrich.
Other students tried to fasten their shoes while using the analogue astronaut gloves. It looks easy, but definitely isn’t! :)
Later Dr. Gernot Grömer and Dr. Thomas Luger talked about the biomedical aspects of analogue spacesuits.
In our free time we made a short tour through the EAC. We visited the pool where astronauts perform trainings and preparations for their spaceflight to the ISS. We also saw the Medical Operations Console and EUROCOM Control Room.
The next morning we started with another Aouda.X presentation for Aviation Medicine students, doctors and professors of King’s College. For three hours we perfomed another donning. Some people supervised the analogue astronauts medical data at the computers. Others telecommanded our little rover through the training hall while, grabbing items with the robot arm.
“The Aouda.X demonstration was a first for us in such a great context – seldomly one sees such motivated students. In addition to the setting of the large training hall, this was definitely a teaching highlight of 2014 for the entire team. What I also found great was the number of ESA-EAC staff member who dropped by and engaged in conversations about the spacesuit simulator with the OeWF (Austrian Space Forum) team” Dr. Gernot Grömer, president of the Austrian Space Forum, said.
Text and Pictures: Clemens Kleinlercher (c), OeWF
This article is available in: German
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