Guest: Dr. Garrett Reisman; Topics: human spaceflight, spacesuits, USC graduate school human spaceflight courses, USC aerospace engineering, Moon, Mars, NASA, private company HSF spaceships and more.
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We welcomed to the show Dr. Garrett Reisman, retired NASA mission specialist astronaut. During our one segment sixty-three minute discussion we covered teaching human spaceflight to graduate students at USC, space walks, the need for new and improved spacesuits, human spaceflight engineering and design along with aerospace medicine design and merging the two together. Given the NASA spaceflight experience of our guest, we talked about exercise routines in space to combat the effects of microgravity, radiation and eye problems, plus what it was like on EVAs and why the current spacesuits tired the spacewalker. I asked our guest several questions about the existing spacesuits including the gloves currently in use by the astronauts.
Dr. Reisman had much to say about the three graduate level human spaceflight class he was teaching to USC Astronautical Engineering students as electives plus we discussed many HSF concerns and issues. Since our guest worked at SpaceX regarding HSF, listeners had questions for him regarding life support issues at SpaceX. Later in the show, a listener asked him if he thought it would be safe flying on a private space company space capsule as compared to one of the NASA spaceships. Don't miss his response and the details involved in how he responded to this set of questions. Let us know your thoughts by posting them on our blog. As for his USC classes, I asked if they were popular which they were. Our guest noted changes from years ago when there was no real commercial opportunity in HSF. Now his students can graduate and find career opportunities in human spaceflight engineering and design, both with government funded projects like Orion as well as private projects. These career opportunities are fairly new in the industry.
As mentioned earlier in the summary, Garrett was asked about the gap between what engineers do and what medical doctors want regarding the design of a human spaceflight vehicle. Don't miss this discussion. Garrett received an email question asking about the two hour exercise protocol, if he really did it when he was on his flights, and if it was good enough for a Mars mission. Garrett had much to say in response to these questions, talked about the exercise protocol and new equipment on ISS, plus the Interim Resistive Exercise Device (IRED). You can find out more about IRED here: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1051.
As we were moving toward the end of the discussion, our guest was asked about his public speaking on space. I also asked him if the general audience was sophisticated and knowledgeable about space, asking say about better propulsion methods to get to Mars faster which would reduce risks for the crew. He said that was way beyond their knowledge. He also said the most frequently asked question of all the astronauts was how do you go to the bathroom in space. Since that has been asked and answered and written about so much, I was hoping the general audience had evolved past that basic level but I guess not.
Before the ending of the interview, Connie sent in a note asking Garrett if he had experienced the Overview Effect on his flights. Please don't miss what Garrett said in response to this question. In the process of talking about the Overview Effect, he had much to say about seeing just how thin, vulnerable and fragile was Earth's atmosphere. Next, he got a somewhat related question regarding why do we even bother with human spaceflight. Once again, don't miss his response which included his thoughts on going to Mars, returning to the Moon and more. The last question came from Barbara in Sacramento who notice he was an astronaut for nearly ten years before he flew. She wanted to know how NASA kept the astronauts busy and what they did before they got a flight. Also, could they do anything to expedite getting on a spaceflight. Garrett had a most interesting response to this question. He talked about how NASA used and uses the astronauts prior to their flight plus the need for ongoing training. He also said it was next to impossible to influence or do something to get on a flight sooner than what comes up through the system. I asked Garrett if he thought private businesses will have private astronauts and if so, will they fly sooner or be managed different than NASA. Our guest had some very interesting comments on private company astronauts. Don't miss them.
In concluding, Garrett provided us with his website which is http://garrettreisman.com. His USC faculty page is https://viterbi.usc.edu/directory/faculty/Reisman/Garrett. You can contact our guest through me or the contact information on his websites. Don't forget his social media information which you can find on his website.