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A day in Empa’s lab
Hello everyone, my name is Yarub Al Busaidi and I am from the Sultanate of Oman. I have been with the OeWF for almost two months now and my internship is unfortunately coming to an end! I know what you are thinking, yeah I should have probably published a blog long ago, but to come late is better than never I guess! Let us start with a typical introduction, shall we?
Before starting a development process in any field, it is always important to evaluate existing systems. This will certainly help in understanding weak points and limitations, hence, a wider angle when starting developing existence systems, which will surely result in a better development process.
Based on the above principle a link was established between the Austrian Space Forum and Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology – one of the most respected research institutes in Switzerland. This cooperation was based on scientific interests between the two parties, and the initial goal was to evaluate the existing Aouda spacesuit configuration. The target was to see if the analog astronaut experiences discomfort with all the weight on his back, and to see where the pressure is going to build up on the astronaut’s body. So how exactly was that done?
Benedikt Stingl, Sara Madlener and I went to Empa’s laboratory in Switzerland for two days to conduct the experiment. We conducted the experiment on a “very poor guy” whom I really sympathize with. His name is Nick (a high-tech test mannequin!). Even though he didn’t scream, I could feel how bad it must have been on him!
Pressure sensors with 96 different reading points each were placed on Nick’s body. These sensors were placed onto his body, so that no matter how many times the experiment is repeated, the sensors will remain where they are. These sensors were placed onto certain areas on its body. For instance, on the hips and shoulders.
Once the sensors were placed on their intended places, underwear was put onto Nick (I forgot to mention that poor Nick was actually naked!). Why bother about the underwear and shirt some may argue? Well, it is always a good idea to try to make the experiment as realistic as it could be.
Once that was done, the Aouda spacesuit was put onto Nick’s back and the reading of sensors were recorded!
We actually repeated the experiment 5 times to make sure the measurements recorded were correct and also to make sure the Aouda spacesuit was placed on Nick’s back correctly. Overall, the experiment was a success, and a cooperation was established between OeWF and Empa which is always great and good to have. The trip was enjoyable and educational too.
Since my internship is coming to an end I would like to express my deepest gratitude and thanks to all the guys working here. It was an amazing experience, which I would never forget. The atmosphere here is very healthy and everyone seems very happy to assist whenever needed. I really wish the best to all of you guys here, and I hope to see you all again in the future (I mean Oman would be an ideal place to meet –not in the summer though-!).
Author: Yarub Al Busaidi
- Tagged: aouda, empa, internship
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