The Fundamentals of Astronautics Course

Overview

AST 101 ‘Fundamentals of Astrodynamics’ introduces the student to scientific human spaceflight as a systemic problem. Specifically, AST 101 introduces the student to the design and training aspects integral to noctilucent cloud tomography on suborbital commercial space vehicles in support of Project PoSSUM. AST 101 will provide the principles of the PoSSUM Program and gain a general understanding of the mesosphere, noctilucent cloud dynamics, observational methods and history, noctilucent cloud structures, aerospace physiology, and life support systems relevant to suborbital flight.

AST 101 includes a fully-immersive program that provides the skills required to effectively conduct research on the next generation of commercial space vehicles as part of Project PoSSUM. Designed and instructed by former NASA astronaut instructors and PoSSUM team scientists, AST 101 also serves as a prerequisite to many other courses offered through the IIAS by introducing key training elements. AST 101 is a pre-requisite for enrollment into all citizen-science courses administered by the IIAS including AER 103, BIO 103, BIO 104, EVA 103, EVA 104, and OPS 104. IIAS Credit will be granted for AST 101 for either of the two programs administered in partnership with Project PoSSUM which may be used towards the Applied Astronautics Credential.

PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Class 1701 with Astronaut Winston Scott, Aviation Legend Patty Wagstaff, and Executive Director Dr. Jason Reimuller

Rationale:

Both the PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Qualification Program and the Advanced PoSSUM Academy exceed the standards established for flight crew as part of FAR § 460.5(b) for the PoSSUM researcher. Specifically, that the researcher will “demonstrate an ability to withstand the stresses of space flight, which may include high acceleration or deceleration, microgravity, and vibration, in sufficient condition to safely carry out his or her duties.” For noctilucent cloud tomography missions, the PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut duties include effective operation of the PoSSUMCam system, real-time identification of noctilucent cloud micro-features of greatest scientific interest, real-time optimization of camera settings at cloud altitudes, proper use of crew resource management techniques to assure proper vehicle attitude at all times during the mission, and the effective activation of MCAT and MASS instruments at cloud altitudes. Duties for other PoSSUM research missions are determined as missions are conceived.

Curriculum:

AST 101 is administered through three-weeks of webinar and self-study followed by a one-week intensive program held at Florida Tech in Melbourne, FL. or at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL. Except where noted, AST 101 studnets enrolled in either the PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Program or the Advanced PoSSUM Academy provide the following academic and training elements

Academic Topics:

  • The Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere (MLT) Environment
  • Fundamentals of remote sensing
  • Remote sensing and aerospace cinematography
  • Spaceflight simulation and operations
  • Crew Resource Management (CRM) techniques
  • Hypoxia awareness and mitigation
  • Spacesuit donning, doffing, pressure regulation, and contingency operations
  • Space suit decompression, smoke and hazardous environments theory
  • Egress and sea survival systems, and ejection systems overview
  • High-G analog and mitigation methods
  • Zero-G and changing-G physiology
  • Introduction to aerospace physiology and life support systems

Individualized Training Elements:

  • Introduction to suborbital space flight simulation
  • Mission simulation and Crew Resource Management Training in PoSSUMSim
  • High-G and microgravity Space Physiology indoctrination flight using an aerobatic aircraft
  • Airborne scientific imagery training flight using Piper Twin aircraft (Scientist-Astronaut Program only)
  • Anti-G Garment and AGSM training
  • High Altitude mission training in a full altitude chamber facility using simulation for slow-onset hypoxia scenarios.
  • Initial Spacesuit Training (don, doff, regulating pressure, basic mobility, fine motor skills, flight system control)
  • Introduction to Spacesuit Contingency Operations (contingency operations, decompression, smoke and hazardous environments, post-landing scenarios, egress and sea survival systems, capsule egress fundamentals, and aircraft ejection systems)
  • Full Scientist-Astronaut Mission simulation training in spacesuits in PoSSUMSim
  • Introduction to Virtual Reality technologies for space mission training
  • Individualized instruction on PoSSUMCam and scientific video camera systems
NASA Astronaut Don Pettit lectures to PoSSUM students about imaging noctilucent clouds from the International Space Station.

NASA Astronaut Don Pettit lectures to PoSSUM students about imaging noctilucent clouds from the International Space Station.

PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Class 1601 shows that they have 'The Right Stuff' in the PoSSUM High-Altitude Facility

PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Class 1601 shows that they have ‘The Right Stuff’ in the IIAS High-Altitude Facility

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Day One: Academic Instruction and Simulator Operations

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Objectives: To understand principles of the PoSSUM Program and gain a general understanding of the mesosphere, noctilucent cloud dynamics, observational methods and history, noctilucent cloud structures, aerospace physiology, and life support systems relevant to suborbital flight.

 

Topics: Overview of the PoSSUM program (1 hr), Science of the Mesosphere (1 hr), Fundamentals of Remote Sensing (1 hr), Basic Noctilucent Cloud Science (1 hr), PoSSUM Instrumentation Operations (1 hr), Imaging Noctilucent Clouds from Suborbital Spacecraft (1 hr), Imaging Noctilucent Clouds from the International Space Station (1 hr), Aerospace Physiology (1 hr), and Life Support Systems (1 hr)

 

Evening Seminar: PoSSUM Suborbital Simulator Operations

Instructors: Dr. Jason Reimuller, Dr. Erik Seedhouse, Dr. Dave Fritts

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Day Two: Hypoxia Effects and PoSSUMCam Operations

Objectives:

1)  Overview of PoSSUM instrumentation and operational concepts, and operations of the PoSSUMCam system.

2)  To recognize off-nominal environments and your own physiological responses to contingency environments in a spacesuit.

 

Training Elements:

1)  Comprehensive training geared towards the effective use of the PoSSUMCam system and other PoSSUM instrumentation in a classroom environment.

2)  Hypoxia awareness training at altitudes equivalent to 25,000 feet in a high-altitude chamber at our Melbourne, Florida. Flight Operations Facility, capable of simulating space missions in hypoxic or hyperoxic environments.

 

Instructors: Dr. Paul Buza, Van Wampler, Parker Rice

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Day Three: Spacesuit Training and PoSSUM Mission Simulation

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AST 101: Fundamentals of Astronautics

Objectives:

1) To don, doff, pressurize, and operate effectively in spacesuits while in confined environments that simulate actual missions.

2) To perform effective Crew Resource Management (CRM) techniques and procedural training in simulators designed specifically for Project PoSSUM and administered at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

3) To introduce Spacesuit Contingency Operations, including decompression, smoke and hazardous environments, post-landing scenarios, egress and sea survival systems, capsule egress fundamentals, and aircraft ejection systems

Training Elements:

1) Comprehensive training in mission-qualified spacesuits where you will learn to don and doff a spacesuit, pressurize a spacesuit, perform safety checks, and conduct basic operations using a spacesuit.

2) Crew Resource Management training in PoSSUM mission simulation simulating actual noctilucent cloud research missions. Trainees will learn how to operate PoSSUM instrumentation in a real-time analog environment.

3) Contingency operations training including principles of decompression, smoke and hazardous environments, post-landing scenarios, egress and sea survival systems, capsule egress fundamentals, and aircraft ejection systems.

Evening Seminar: Spaceflight Physiology, Dr. Perry Bechtle

Instructors: Chris Lundeen, Van Wampler, Parker Rice

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Day Four: High-G (Ascent and Re-entry) indoctrination and Mitigation Flight, Airborne Camera Operations Flight

Objectives:

1)  To perform optimally in a high-G environment, mitigating G-induced blackouts through the use of anti-G equipment and AGSM breathing techniques in an Extra 300L Aerobatic aircraft.

2)  To effectively operate camera systems and employ proper Crew Resource Management techniques in an airborne imagery training flight using a Piper Cherokee 6 aircraft.

 

Training Elements:

1) High-G and microgravity Space Physiology flight with use of mechanical countermeasures and breathing techniques to mitigate high-G ascent and re-entry environments using an Extra 300L aircraft. Indoctrination to high-G and changing-G environments analogous to suborbital spaceflight. Exposure to Gx, Gy, and Gz accelerations.

2) Execution of above maneuvers with student flying the aircraft using an Extra 300 aerobatic aircraft.

3) Anti-G Garment training and introduction to Anti-G Breathing Maneuver (AGSM) training.

4) Use of servo-controlled camera systems on aircraft using a Piper Cherokee 6 aircraft.

5) Use of proper Crew Resource Management (CRM) techniques in-flight.

 

Evening Film: ‘Spacewalk’ (2017)

Airborn Tomography Training Flight
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Day 5: Remedial Instruction and Evaluations

Aerobatic Group Picture

Objectives:

1) Introduction to Virtual and Augmented reality for space missions

2) To introduce specialized topics pertaining to aeronomy and astronautics and to review and evaluate academic instruction administered through the previous four days.

3)  To complete all objectives which could not be completed in the previous days due to inclement weather or other contingencies.

4) Final Evaluation

 

Evening Seminar: Film: Sprites, Graduation

Instructors: Dr. Jason Reimuller

To Apply:

You may receive credit for AST 101 through the successful completion of either the PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Qualification Program or the Advanced PoSSUM Academy. Applications are considered two times per year.  Apply by 1 February for the Spring PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Class or Advanced PoSSUM Academy. Apply by 1 August for PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Class or Advanced PoSSUM Academy.

Graduates from the PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut program qualifies the student to enroll in all IIAS courses and be eligible for specific flight opportunities. Graduates from the Advanced PoSSUM Academy qualifies the student to enroll in all IIAS graduate courses except EDU 103, EDU 104, and Space Suit Technician Qualification Program. Equivalency may be applied through examination after the student obtains a qualifying B.S. degree.

NOTE: All schedules are tentative and dependent on local safety policies and the IIAS Space Medical Team’s assessment of safety with respect to COVID-19. CURRENT APPLICATION CYCLE FOR THE JANUARY 2021 PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut and Advanced PoSSUM Academy classes are extended to 15 October 2020.

Advanced PoSSUM Academy

For Undergraduate and General Education Candidates

Advanced PoSSUM Academy graduates are equivalently trained and qualified to participate in PoSSUM graduate specializations. Upon graduation with a qualifying B.S degree, Advanced PoSSUM Graduates may take a free evaluation for equivalency as a PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Candidate. Basic qualifications for the Advanced PoSSUM Academy include:

• Current FAA Class III Flight Physical
• SCUBA Experience
• Demonstrated academic success in a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) field

Cost: $3500

PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Qualification Program

For Graduates and STEM Professionals

PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Candidates are trained and qualified to participate in PoSSUM graduate specializations, become a PoSSUM educator or space suit technician, or to fly to space as a PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut. Basic qualifications for the PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Program include:

• Current FAA Class III Flight Physical
• SCUBA Experience
• Bachelor’s Degree in a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) field

Cost: $5000

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