Human space flight is associated with losses in muscle strength, bone mineral density and aerobic capacity. The ability to estimate the physical cost of exploration tasks, monitor crew health and fitness, and to provide effective hardware for exercise countermeasures use will be valuable in supporting safe and successful space exploration.
A few weeks ago my boss, Matt Brzycki, and I were approached by Mike Paluszek, the president of Princeton Satellite Systems, who offered us to be part of a team that is developing an exercise device for NASA to be used in space.
Our role in the team is to help design an exercise device that is 20 lbs or less including all accessories (or demonstrated to be within this allotment for a flight unit if the ground prototype exceeds 20 lbs), require no vehicle power to operate, include materials/components that can be flight certified and do not pose risk to the crew vehicle/habitat, and can be stowed within 1 cubic foot of space aboard the Orion vehicle.
To add to that, it must be a multi purpose device, i.e. covering all muscles in the body. This is not easy to do, but I guess everything is possible when you are dealing with NASA.
We had a productive meeting yesterday, where we discussed a few good ideas that I think will work best.
I spent a good three hours this morning sketching the device, trying to think of ways to make it work on all muscle groups. .
I came up with 4 possible initial models, but the final design is far from being done.
I want to say that I am thrilled to be part of a very brilliant team of engineers, and even more thrilled to work on a project that, if approved, will help astronauts avoid some of the physiological issues that are associated with staying in Zero gravity out in space.