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Operator Training

Atsa operators will have only a few minutes to make their observations after main engine cutoff, having experienced up to 3-g on ascent.  A maximum of 4-g will be experienced during pullout after re-entry. Transitioning from high-g to conducting complex operations in zero-g will require a new kind of training for prospective Atsa observers.  The Atsa team of PSI scientists, Citadel cadets and summer students have gained experience with simulated launches and g-force profiles similar to what is anticipated for the Lynx spacecraft.  They have tested their ability to perform tasks requiring fine motor skills as their bodies adapt to a rapidly changing environment.  Our provider in this training is the National Aerospace Training and Research (NASTAR) Center in Pennsylvania.  Their Phoenix centrifuge is used for training by NASA astronauts and by US and foreign military (including the Blue Angels who test new routines with it).  All future Atsa operators will undergo NASTAR centrifuge training.

During flight, Atsa operators will wear a pressure suit.  The suit serves as a backup if the spacecraft undergoes decompression in flight.  Future training will include contingency operations for handling instrument controls through pressurized suit gloves.  Hypobaric chamber training is also required so that operators may better understand the effects of depressurization in flight.

NASTAR training





A Future Training Facility in Tucson

As Atsa progresses and funding is secured, a training facility will be constructed at PSI in Tucson.  This will include a full-scale detailed mockup of the XCOR Lynx 1 cabin with a mounted Atsa 1 camera.  Because of the short duration of observations, all activities will be heavily scripted.  This facility will allow Atsa operators to thoroughly rehearse their activities in an environment similar to that in which they will be working.

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