Participants spend three days in rigorous sub-orbital space environment training designed for a specific flight profile and vehicle. Each participant will learn and experience how limited exposure to weightlessness and G-forces associated with rocket powered flight affect the body. This training prepares the participant to take full advantage of the 5 to 7 minutes of weightlessness during their flight. Participants learn normal and safety procedures in preparing for emergency situations in dynamic spacecraft simulations including hypoxia recovery, smoke and fumes emergency procedures, and work as a crew through situational awareness training.
Our Sub-Orbital Training curriculum is designed to meet FAA regulatory Spaceflight Participant (SFP) training requirements promoting safety and mitigate risk to the SFP and sub-orbital operator. The SFP will have a working knowledge of an operator’s sub-orbital vehicle nominal and emergency procedures coupled with physiological adaptation to accelerated G-forces and microgravity. Sub-Orbital Training is designed to take place prior to flight and consists of focused spaceflight physiology, flight dynamics, microgravity adaptation and vehicle specific procedures training. Additionally, SFP’s are trained in accordance to our FAA Safety Approval ensuring a consistent level of spaceflight competency.
Upon completion of Sub-Orbital Training the SFP should:
- Be knowledgeable on the operator’s vehicle flight profile;
- Acknowledge and self-correct physiological issues associated with spaceflight;
- Exhibit adaptation to, and operate in microgravity;
- Exhibit adaptation to accelerated G-forces;
- Demonstrate nominal ingress and egress procedures and proper use of vehicle SFP restraint systems without assistance;
- Demonstrate emergency egress procedures and proper use of life support equipment (if installed) without assistance.
During Level 2, the SFP will complete the following courses:
Spaceflight Physiology Briefing (PHY 200)
The briefing will consist of human anatomy specific to the SFP during aircraft and sub-orbital flight, basic gas laws, physiological divisions of the atmosphere, altitude physiology and mitigation measures. Topics covered will include:
- Sub-orbital accelerated G-forces, self-imposed stress, motion sickness and mitigation steps;
- Potential environmental stressors experienced during sub-orbital flight;
- Incapacitation and health maintenance as related to the SFP in preparation for sub-orbital flight.
Spaceflight Environment Briefing (ENV 200)
The SFP will be briefed on sub-orbital spaceflight dynamics preparing the SFP for spaceflight. Topics covered will include:
- Earth’s atmospheric structure and radiation exposure;
- Flight mechanics related to sub-orbital flight;
- Vehicle specific life support systems;
- The operator’s spaceflight mission architecture and Mission Control roles and responsibilities.
Crew Resource Management Briefing (CRM 200)
The Crew Resource Management briefing will familiarize the SFP with the crew environment and SFP roles and responsibilities preparing the SFP for sub-orbital flight. Topics covered will included:
- SFP human factors issues present during sub-orbital flight;
- Tools for working in a crew environment;
- Interpersonal communication principles;
- Conflict and stress management, situational awareness, decision making;
- Professionalism while operating in a closed loop environment.
Spaceflight Safety and Risk Briefing (SSR 200)
The SFP will be briefed in accordance with FAA requirements the physical risks and hazards (known or unknown) associated with spaceflight and the safety record of the launch vehicle type to include:
- The total number of people who have flown sub-orbital;
- The total number of people who have died performing sub-orbital flight;
- The total number of launch and re-entries conducted with people on board and any catastrophic failures associated with these flights;
- The operator’s safety record post verification of the vehicle to include any incidents or mishaps during any phase of flight;
- Corrective actions taken by the operator to resolve incidents or mishaps and;
- Rights afforded to the SFP prior to flight.
Hypoxia Demonstration and Recovery Training (GT 200)
This course will introduce or refresh the SFP to physiological effects created by reduced oxygen environments. The SFP will garner an understanding of personal hypoxia symptoms and proper self-recovery methods. Hypoxia demonstrations and recovery training will be accomplished in either a hypobaric or normobaric chamber.
Vehicle Ingress and Egress Orientation (GT 201)
The course familiarizes the SFP with the spaceflight vehicle utilizing a fidelity correct mock-up in preparation for flight. During familiarization the SFP will:
- Be instructed on and demonstrate proper vehicle ingress and egress in accordance with the operator’s procedures;
- Demonstrate the SFP restraint system;
- Be introduced to nominal flight procedures, the flight vehicle, microgravity translation points and any restrictions imposed by the operator.
Vehicle Emergency Procedures Training and Simulation (GT 202)
During this course the SFP will be trained on emergency procedures in accordance with FAA requirements. During the training the SFP will be instructed on and demonstrate:
- General emergency procedures and SFP response to a cabin fire, cabin smoke, loss of cabin pressure;
- Emergency ground egress procedures and techniques;
- A working knowledge of the vehicle operator’s emergency egress procedures, life support and survival equipment (if installed);
- Desired performance during a series of simulated emergency drills;
Accelerated G-force Adaptation (FT 200)
The course will subject the SFP to high G-force load effects on the human body coupled by stimulation of the vestibular and visual senses as a result of unusual attitudes. During training the SFP will:
- Review topics discussed during the Spaceflight Physiology briefing to include gas laws imposed on the human body, proper mitigation and self-clearing procedures;
- Review hypoxic experiences during the chamber flight to include the IMSAFE personal checklist;
- Understand the accelerated G-force flight profile and associated survival equipment used during flight;
- Be introduced to countermeasures designed to prevent loss of consciousness resulting from accelerated G-force loading;
- Become familiar with slow and rapid G-force onset in the linear, radial and angular acceleration vectors while exercising physiological G-force countermeasures;
- Experience gas laws imposed on the human body while exercising proper mitigation and self-clearing procedures.
Microgravity Adaptation (FT 201)
This course will subject the SFP to micro gravity effects on the human body coupled by stimulation of the vestibular and visual senses as a result of unusual attitudes. During the course the SFP will:
- Review topics discussed during the Spaceflight Physiology briefing and accelerated G force flights to include the IMSAFE personal checklist;
- Review of microgravity translation techniques;
- Be introduced to periods of microgravity and demonstrate microgravity operations;
- Become knowledgeable on physiological effects associated with changes in gravity;
- Exercise recovery from unusual attitudes and demonstrate proper translation techniques.
Research and Payload Systems (GT 203)
Research and Payload systems is an as required course and designed to integrate research personnel with research and payload systems installed on the operator’s sub-orbital vehicle utilizing fidelity correct mock-ups in preparation for flight.
Instruction will provide the SFP with:
- Research protocols as determined by the operator in conjunction with payload and research specific procedure development;
- Instructor lead hands on sessions with flight payload hardware and system components, controls, equipment;
- Proper operation of the payload systems and equipment in accordance with the operator’s procedures.
Follow on sessions will be as required and provide the SFP with continued practical training leading to successful execution of research operations during flight.