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Reduced Gravity Flight Operations

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1 Reduced Gravity Flight Operations
Aerospace Physiology, Spatial Awareness Briefing

2 Scope The nominal environment is similar to commercial aviation with a few exceptions. Qualified Non-Crewmembers can expect the same physiological responses and hazards as commercial aviation. The aerobatic maneuver can induce physiological responses not generally experienced outside of this environment. Research Experiment operations may present increased inherent hazard or exposure.

3 Overview Basic physiology associated with moderate altitude aviation
Nominal and off-nominal conditions Altitude Countermeasures Basic physiological response to parabolic flight Physiological Countermeasures

4 Goals Ensure Qualified Non-Crewmembers have a basic understanding of their physiological response to the predicted environment. Ensure Qualified Non-Crewmembers have a basic understanding of simple countermeasures. Ensure Qualified Non-Crewmembers have the tools to focus on their research and complete mission safely and successfully.

5 Hypoxic Hypoxia Hypoxia: A state of oxygen deficiency in the blood, tissues , and cells sufficient to cause an impairment of mental and physical functions. Any condition that interrupts the flow of oxygen to the lungs: Breathing air at reduced pressure (above 10,000’) Breathing smoke/fumes/research experiment gasses Choking/Drowning Medical problems Emphysema Asthma Pneumonia

6 Signs are objective and can be seen by an observer
Increased rate and depth of breathing Cyanosis Slurring of speech Poor coordination Mental confusion Euphoria Belligerence Lethargy Unconsciousness

7 Symptoms are sensations a person can detect while in a hypoxic state (in this case)
Blurred vision Tunnel vision Air Hunger Hot & Cold flashes Euphoria Numbness Tingling Apprehension Nausea Dizziness Fatigue Headache Belligerence

8 The most dangerous aspect of hypoxia is its insidious onset

9 Time of Useful Consciousness [TUC]
The period of time from the loss of oxygen supply or exposure to an oxygen poor environment to the time when deliberate function is lost.

10 TUC or Effective Performance Time [EPT]
Slow decompression FL430: 9-12 sec FL350: sec FL280: mins FL250: 3-5 mins FL180: mins Rapid decompression FL430: 5 sec FL350: 30 sec Fl280: 90 sec Fl250: 2.5 mins FL180: mins

11 Factors Affecting TUC Altitude Time at Altitude Rate of ascent
Activity Level Physical fitness Diet Fatigue Temperature Human Factors

12 Treatment Get on 100% oxygen Check equipment
Control your rate and depth of breathing Let a crewmember know Pilot will descend aircraft below 10,000 feet as soon as practical

13 Hyperventilation A condition where the rate and depth of breathing is abnormally high causing an excessive loss of CO2 in the body Increase in pCO2 stimulates breathing Inadequate respiration or high CO2 levels Physical exertion Decrease in pCO2 reduces breathing Causes Emotional Fear Excitement Anger Hypoxia

14 Hyperventilation Signs Symptoms Tetany Unconsciousness Tingling
Dizziness Hot & Cold flashes Vision impairment Fainting Muscle tremors Nausea Numbness

15 Prevention Don’t Panic Control your rate and depth of breathing
Pause between inhale and exhale Talk out loud

16 Trapped Gas Expanding gas inside the hollow body cavities that cannot escape Areas affected Ears Sinuses G.I. tract Teeth

17 Ears Middle ear Problems usually occur on descent, rarely on ascent
Causes: Head cold/upper respiratory infection Blocked or constricted Eustachian tube Failure to valsalva properly

18 Middle Ear Symptoms: Prevention: Fullness Dull hearing Pain
Do not fly with a cold During ascent: yawn, chew, swallow, rock head side to side During descent: valsalva

19 Valsalva Pinch both nostrils closed and tilt head up 10 deg
Take a breath of air and close mouth With mouth and nose shut, blow as if you were trying to blow your nose. Note: the maneuver should be short in duration but sharp. Do not overpressure the ear!

20 Sinus Problems Usually happen on descent but can happen on ascent
Causes: Cold, URI, etc Allergies Smoking Chlorinated pools Symptoms Sudden severe pain Referral pain in upper teeth

21 Sinus Problems Prevention: Treatment:
Don’t fly with a cold or congested Treatment: Valsalva See flight surgeon

22 Gastrointestinal [GI] Tract
Causes: Decreased atmospheric pressure Diet/digestive Process Swallowed air Symptoms Discomfort Distention Cramps Pain

23 GI Prevention Treatment Proper diet and good eating habits
Avoid carbonated drinks Avoid chewing gum or other that may cause you to swallow air Treatment Belch Pass flatus Massage lower abdomen See flight surgeon

24 Teeth Causes: Symptom: Treatment: Untreated dental problem
Trapped pocket of air after dental work Symptom: Pain on ascent Treatment: See flight surgeon See your dentist

25 Spatial Awareness and Motion Sickness Prevention
Disorientation The inability to determine one’s true body position or motion; a condition that can occur when sensory inputs disagree with one another or do not match up with the actual motion or position.

26 Organs of Equilibrium Vision (eyes) Vestibular Proprioceptive
Orientation and body responses

27 Vestibular Apparatus Semicircular canals detect rotation
The Otolith Organs detect direction and intensity of Gravity and g-forces.

28 Semicircular Canals True sensation False sensation No turn
Accelerating turn (right) Sense of turning clockwise Constant turn Decelerating turn (right) Sense of turning counter clockwise Semicircular canals are stimulated by Angular Accelerations

29 Otolith Organs True Sensation False Sensation Tilt forward Upright
Tilt backward Forward acceleration Sense is tilt backwards Centripetal acceleration Sense is upright

30 Proprioceptive Sense (‘seat of the pants’)
While we are in contact with the Earth, the pull of Gravity squeezes pressure sensors in the various portions of the body, thus telling us in which direction the Earth is. In parabolic flight, however, g-forces in other directions make the proprioceptive sense unreliable.

31 The Visual System The Visual System provides the strongest and usually the most reliable orientation information during flight.

32 Causes of Motion Sickness
Sensory conflict Stressors Erratic head movement Pre-existing illness Diet Unusual environment Lack of visual cues Poor ventilation

33 Motion Sickness Symptoms
Increased salivation and swallowing Nausea and vomiting or retching Sleepiness, fatigue, or weakness Warm or cold sweat Flushing of the skin Pallor Headache (usually frontal) Dizziness

34 Prevention of Motion Sickness
Proper posture during flight Eliminate or reduce self imposed stress Maintain hydration Eat before flight Avoid erratic head movements (especially in high g) Well rested Prescription anti-motion sickness medications

35 Treatment of Motion Sickness
Remove from provocative environment Stop provocative movements or activities Cool down Isolate senses (i.e. close your eyes) Prescription anti-nausea or anti-emetic medication

36 QUIZ Hypoxia can be a result of:
Depressurization of the cabin at altitude Breathing smoke/fumes or research gasses Both of the above The most dangerous aspect of Hypoxia is: Insidious Onset Hot & Cold Flashes Cyanosis

37 QUIZ How many minutes of useful consciousness would you have if the cabin suddenly lost pressure at cruise altitude? 3 10 What area is affected by pressure change? Ears Sinus GI tract All of the above

38 Anti-Motion Sickness Guide
Researchers have intensely studied motion sickness and its causes for many years. How and why motion sickness occurs remains hotly debated. However, some things are clear: Motion Sickness is related to mismatch between the senses (inner ear, vision, etc.). In some people, as the brain adapts to the changes in the environment, the brain produces nausea and vomiting as a side effect of the process. The stronger the motion, the harder the brain has to work and the greater the chances for motion sickness. Anyone can suffer from motion sickness if placed in the right environment.

39 What we do know In a given motion environment, motion sickness will only occur if the motion is severe enough. The amount of motion required for motion sickness is different for each individual and for each type of environment. If the amount is way over the required level, motion sickness can develop rapidly; lower, it may take hours for symptoms to develop. Anti-motion sickness medications work by decreasing your sensitivity to motion.

40 Known Environment Moving around a lot while in a motion environment increases the amount of motion your brain must process. Although looking out the window at the horizon can help your brain process the sensory information in some cases, looking out the window of the Zero-G aircraft does not help. Approximately 30% of flyers are insensitive to the type and amount of motion experienced during parabolic flight and do not get sick on that flight. Approximately 5-10% of flyers are very sensitive to parabolic flight in the Zero-G aircraft. The remaining 60-65% of flyers have moderate sensitivity to motion of parabolic flight. For these people, how they behave during flight really affects whether they will develop motion sickness or not. There is not a good way to predict how you will do during parabolic flight.

41 Prepare for your flight
The day and night before: Get plenty of rest the night before. Do not engage in rigorous athletic activities within 24 hours of flight. Drink plenty of liquids to make sure your body is well hydrated. Do not drink alcohol within 24 hours of flight. People who drink alcohol are often dehydrated the next day. Alcohol also effects the brain’s ability to adapt to new motion environments which leads to worse motion sickness.

42 Prepare for your flight (con’t)
The morning of the flight: Eat a light breakfast at least two hours prior to flight (e.g. cereal). Do not overeat. Do not fly on an empty stomach. Avoid eating food that may be irritating to your stomach. Do not eat greasy or spicy meals (e.g. bacon, omelets, etc.). Wear light weight clothing (shorts, T-shirt) under your flight suit. It is better to be too cool than too warm. Drink plenty of non-carbonated fluids to make sure your body is well hydrated. Water is the best fluid to drink.

43 Preventing motion sickness During parabolic flight (High–g)
DURING THE 1.8G PULL-OUT PHASE (LASTS ABOUT SECONDS) Body Position: Keep the entire body as still as possible (do not strain, just relax in place). The best body positions are either lying flat or sitting with your back against the cabin wall. Flyers that lie flat on their back develop less severe motion sickness. Sitting may be required when performing projects that require constant observation. Use the position that is most comfortable. Feel free to experiment with different orientations of sitting and lying.

44 Preventing motion sickness Con’t During parabolic flight (High–g)
Activity: Do not nod, move or shake your head in any way. Minimize fast head movements. Do not move around. If you must move around because of your experiment, staying in a seated position and sliding around using your hands while keeping your head still is best. Relax during this portion of the flight. Straining or exerting yourself can cause motion sickness to develop. If you must perform tasks during this period, do not move your body to face the tools or equipment.

45 Transition During the transition from 1.8g to microgravity (lasts about 3-5 seconds): Keep still Wait until after the transition is complete to begin moving (you will feel the difference). Sparing the extra few seconds will make a big difference for you. Smoothly re-orient your body to face your experimental activities. Do not turn, nod, or bend your neck while moving.

46 Micro-g During the microgravity period (last 18-24 seconds):
Body Positions: Always keep your head and neck stiff like you are wearing a neck brace. Never turn, bend or shake your head separate from body. Keep yourself in an upright orientation. Do not face upside-down. Especially at first. This can be quite disorienting

47 Micro-g Do not interfere with other people’s experiments or activities
Activity: At first, keep your activities to a minimum to allow your body to adjust to parabolic flight. Hold on to the restraints to keep stable Relax! You have plenty of time to experiment with microgravity during the flights. Use only smooth and slow body movements. Use the objects and restraints around you to help you move around. Do not kick or flail around. You may carefully and gradually increase your activity level if: You are feeling fine. You have become accustomed to floating, and know how to use the foot restraints. You have completed your required experiments. Do not interfere with other people’s experiments or activities

48 Transition During the transition from microgravity to 1.8g (lasts about 3-5 seconds): When you hear the call, “30 low”, or “feet down”: Stop what you are doing. Smoothly orient yourself so your feet are towards the floor. Make sure there are no people or equipment under you. Gently let the gravity pull you towards a clear area on the floor. Allow yourself to gently fall into your most comfortable 1.8g position. Use your hands, feet and body to push yourself into the right position. Always keep your head still and stable relative to your body. Once you are in a relaxed position, ride out the remainder of the 1.8g period without moving your body or head.

49 Turns While the aircraft is turning, between sets of parabolas:
The plane will enter the turn after a high-G pull-out. Do not move until the pull-out is over. Once the pull-out is over, and the turn has begun, rest a few moments until your body is used to the stable gravitational force. After a few moments of adjustment, you may walk about the cabin like normal without difficulty.

50 Symptomatic If you do start feeling motion sick:
Limit all of your activity. Hold firmly onto available restraints. Keep yourself upright during microgravity. Do not turn, nod or shake your head at all. Do not look out the window. Keep your eyes open. Only look at objects that are right side up. Rest quietly in your most comfortable position during the 1.8g pull-outs. Have a motion sickness bag open and sticking out of each of your upper flight suit pockets. If the sickness goes away with rest, you may return to activity.

51 Onset Continue to restrain yourself to the cabin floor.
If you do get motion sickness: Continue to restrain yourself to the cabin floor. Sitting up is the best position. Press the motion sickness bag around the mouth with both hands Do not choke off the neck of the bag with your hand. Hold the bad snuggly against your face until all vomiting or retching ceases. Once vomiting/retching has ceased immediately seal the motion sickness bag. Use available paper towels to immediately clean up any spills. Place the used motion sickness bag and paper towels into a Ziploc bag. Make sure you have fresh motion sickness bags available. Most people feel much better after getting sick. If you continue to be sick, stay along the cabin walls out of the way of other flyers. Flight personnel may move sick individuals to the seats in back.

52 Medication Anti-Motion Sickness Medications:
Are effective in limiting motion sickness. Work by decreasing your sensitivity to motion. However, if the motion is severe enough, you can still experience motion sickness. The beneficial effect of the medication can be nullified if you do not follow the recommendations outlined earlier. The available medication may have some side effects: Dry mouth Mild sleepiness/sedation Mild decreased concentration Changes/blurring of vision

53 Prevention Hard candies and water are available during the flight to help with dry mouth. The medication must be taken properly for it to work: Must be taken exactly as directed by flight personnel. Must be taken at least one hour prior to takeoff to be effective. Must be taken under the direct supervision of the flight personnel. Because some of the potential side effects might impair your ability to safely drive a vehicle, you must designate someone who will drive you around for the rest of the day after you take the medication. You cannot receive the medication if you do not have a designated driver.

54 After the Flight: General recommendations:
By the time most flyers disembark from the airplane after their flight, they are feeling fine . If anything, they are hungry and thirsty. Occasionally, first time flyers can notice some dizziness or feeling of instability after their flight. This could potentially interfere with their ability to drive or operate heavy machinery. Because of this, it is recommended that on the day of your flight, you do not drive, operate other machinery or engage inactivity that requires a lot of coordination, especially if you feeling dizzy or unsteady. After your flight, make sure to drink plenty of fluids. Flying in the Zero-G aircraft can deplete your body’s fluid stores. You should minimize alcohol intake after a flight. It can lead to more dehydration and can negatively interact with the anti-motion sickness medication. Drinking alcohol after flight can cause motion sickness symptoms to return. Avoid strenuous activity. Your body needs rest to adapt to the vigorous sensory information it experienced during flight.

55 Post Flight If you are not feeling well after your flight:
Occasionally, some people continue to have symptoms of motion sickness after returning from flight. Symptoms are virtually always gone after a good night’s rest. If you are still feeling quite poorly after your flight, tell the flight personnel before you leave the hangar. If you do continue to have motion sickness symptoms, the most important thing is to rest and avoid any activity or motion. Rest quietly in a cool, dark environment. If possible, drink plenty of clear liquids. Eat light food (crackers, bananas) only as tolerated. If, despite these measures, you are still feeling uncomfortable, further medical advice regarding motion sickness is available. Contact Flight Clinic (281) Tell the person who answers that you have just flown on Zero-G aircraft and would like to speak to the Flight Surgeon. The Flight Surgeon will evaluate your situation and determine what to do next. If no answer, contact JSC Security at (281)

56 Detailed Research Activity Planning (Putting it all together):
Exactly what are you going to do during parabolic flight? What steps must you compete during your experiment? To understand exactly what each step of your experiment entails, think about the following points. To help yourself keep things straight, write things down. What physical motions and activities are needed for a given step? Think about exactly when each step must be performed. Will the activity be performed in microgravity, during the high-G pull-out or both? Determining this will help you determine where to put the equipment so that it is easily available during the appropriate period without having to move around. Does the task require one hand, two hands, or no hands? Makes sure you are adequately restrained to get the job done without floating away. What equipment do you need to perform the task? Make sure the equipment is positioned so that you don’t have to move around to get to it.

57 Detailed Research Activity Planning (Putting it all together): (Con’t)
Do you think you’ll be doing the step during the high-G pull-out? Practice performing the step while lying down or sitting down and keeping your head still. Plan on using a stiff notepad so you can write while lying down and holding notepad over your head. How long do you think it will take to perform the task? Remember that it usually will take you a lot longer than you think it will. Practicing on the ground under normal gravity will show you how long it typically takes. A rough estimate is to double the time to see how long it will take you during parabolic flight - practice it on the ground first! What do you do if you or one of your experiment partners gets motion sickness and can’t complete their steps? Can somebody else finish their steps for them? Can you? Carefully look at each step of your activities and compare them to the recommendations given earlier. If you determine that an activity might cause you to break some of recommendations given above, think about how to adjust that activity or place your equipment to minimize a problem with the activity. Doing this before flight can help you eliminate physical activities positions that are too provocative.

58 Conclusion: Although motion sickness can occur during parabolic flight, there are steps that you can take to prevent it. Knowing what to do (and not to do) is the key to motion sickness prevention. Taking a little time to plan ahead will go a long way to help you finish your experiment, experience microgravity and have a great time! Following these step-by-step guidelines is the best way to avoid motions sickness. These guidelines also discuss how to manage motion sickness symptoms and limit their impact on your flight experience. Don’t forget that the RGO aircraft flight personnel are also available for advice or assistance. They have put forth a lot of care and effort to make sure your parabolic flight experience is enjoyable and rewarding. Plan ahead, don’t worry and have a Great Time!

59 QUIZ During the high–g pull-out you should ____
Move around Hold your head and neck still Make rapid head movements The night before your flight you should____ Drink plenty of fluids and rest Stay dehydrated Drink only clear alcoholic beverages The morning of your flight it is best to eat ___ Nothing Greasy food Light meal that agrees with you During the micro-g phase of flight you should__ Kick and flail Move slowly and in control, holding on to structure Twist you head and neck quickly If you feel ill it is best to______ Stop what you are doing Look out the window Lay face down

60 QUIZ (Con’t) If you are about to get sick you should____
Sit up, signal NASA TDs, hold bag firmly around the mouth with both hands. Let go and float free Close your eyes and squeeze the bag tightly If you begin to get sick you must____ Get everything in the bag Go the lavatory Go to the front Effects of parabolic flight may last ____ Well into the evening in some cases A lifetime 12 minutes Avoid ____ immediately after flight Drinking alcohol, strenuous activity, driving if on meds Walking, or dancing The ‘noid Medications are effective and may affect you for ____ Eternity A week Several hours

61 Signature Page I ______________, have read and understood the causes and potential effects of parabolic flight, and the associated physiological and spatial disorientation issues. DATE OF BRIEFING: _____________ _____________________________ NAME

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