A giant leap forward in disability inclusion took place on Parabolic Flight this month.
AstroAccess made its first official flight space The project conducted a research flight on December 15th, and announced that 14 ambassadors with disabilities boarded the zero-gravity plane. Participants flew science projects grouped by several crew focuses called Blind, Mobility, Def, and Hard of Hearing.
“AstroAccess proves that one day everyone will have access to space,” he said. (opens in new tab) Space entrepreneur and Space for Humanity founder Dylan Taylor will orbit in 2021 aboard the Blue Origin New Shepherd system. Taylor sponsored the flight, along with AstroAccess co-founder George Whitesides (former CEO of Virgin Galactic) and winemaker and angel investor Amy Dornbusch.
Related: Ambassador of the disabled succeeds in weightless flight
Participants used “Zero-G” (opens in new tab)The mission flew 18 parabolas from an altitude of 25,000 feet (7,620 meters). The mission took off and landed at Houston’s Ellington Airport near NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where astronauts train in the United States.
“There is still work to be done to make space accessible to everyone, but the success of this historic parabolic flight and the selection of John McFaul by ESA shows a strong move in the right direction. ‘ said Anna Voelker, Executive Director of AstroAccess, in the same statement.
AstroAccess flew two fewer than expected (originally expected 16 attendees) and about a week behind schedule, but the press release explained why the flight change was made. did not disclose. The Dec. 15 flight was his second dedicated flight for the organization after providing opportunities for adults with disabilities living in the United States in 2021.
According to AstroAccess, the experiments conducted by the crew included:
- Blind Crew tested tactile graphics on cabin walls to help both blind and sighted crew members stay oriented and find emergency equipment in an emergency.
- Blind and mobility crews have also demonstrated that a disabled person can self-board a launch seat and safely secure a 5-point seat harness.
- In collaboration with Sony and SonicCloud, Hard-of-Hearing and Blind Crews demonstrated a system that uses Sony headphones and SonicCloud’s software to improve speech understanding and tailor audio to your hearing ability.
- The deaf crew continued work on a linguistics study of the intelligibility of American Sign Language (ASL) in zero gravity, following another parabolic flight and scuba diving experiment study.
The flight will help more people with disabilities join space, such as Hayley Arceneaux’s privately funded SpaceX Inspiration4 flight last year and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) selection of Paralympic trauma surgeon John McFall in November. It is done when you are starting to
Elizabeth Howell is co-author ofwhy am i tall (opens in new tab)?” (ECW Press, 2022, co-authored with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book on space medicine. Follow her on Twitter. @Howell Space (opens in new tab)Follow us on Twitter @space.com (opens in new tab) Also Facebook (opens in new tab).