Wyle Laboratories has designed and is building a centrifuge for NASA for use in researching the effects of artificial gravity as a countermeasure to the negative effects of microgravity on the human body.
The research is directly linked to solving the problems associated with long duration space flight including loss of muscle and bone mass. Such problems must be overcome if NASA is to mount a successful mission to Mars.
"The centrifuge, to be built over the next several months, will be located at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston," said Nancy Srb, Wyle's artificial gravity project manager. "Under future options, Wyle may build centrifuges for research use in Russia and Germany."
The work is being conducted under Wyle's Bioastronautics contract where the company provides life sciences research, special-use systems and support services for NASA's human space program.
The project is being developed in two phases. The first phase is the building of the Short Radius Centrifuge, which has a three meter radius, to support NASA's Artificial Gravity Pilot Study. The second phase will include significant enhancements to the centrifuge design to provide support for the multinational Artificial Gravity Project.
The Artificial Gravity Project Pilot Study places test subjects in a six degree head-down bed-rest position, which simulates the effects of microgravity on a human body. The test subjects are then placed in the Short Radius Centrifuge and subjected up to 2.5 Gs at their feet to simulate a gravity environment.
Wyle has provided life sciences services and flight-related hardware to NASA at Johnson Space Center since the late 1960s. Wyle's work at Johnson Space Center includes support of medical operations and research, space flight hardware development and support for biotechnology programs for the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.
A diversified high tech engineering and services company, Wyle also builds Dynamic Flight Simulators used to train fighter pilots under high G conditions. Wyle's Dynamic Flight Simulator, the first fourth generation centrifuge system of its type to be put in use in the world, became operational last summer in Sweden.
Wyle Laboratories provides testing, research, and engineering services to commercial, industrial, and government customers.