This study proposes that a Boeing X-37B space plane, its dimensions and performance characteristics estimated from publicly available documents, diagrams, and photographs, could be internally redesigned as a medical evacuation (ambulance) vehicle for the International Space Station. As of 2017, there is currently no spacecraft designed to accommodate a contingency medical evacuation wherein a crew member aboard the ISS is injured or ailing and must be returned to Earth for immediate medical attention. The X-37B is an unmanned vehicle with a history of success in both sub-orbital testing and all four of its long-duration orbital missions to date. Research conducted at UC Davis suggests that it is possible to retain the outer mold line of the X-37B while expanding the internal payload compartment to a volume sufficient for a crew of three—pilot, crew medical officer, and injured crew member—throughout ISS un-dock and atmospheric entry, descent, and landing. In addition to crew life support systems, this re-purposed X-37B, hereafter referred to as the X-37SA (Space Ambulance), includes medical equipment for stabilization of a patient in-transit. This study suggests an optimal, ergonomic crew configuration and berthing port location, procedures for microgravity ingress and 1G egress, a minimum medical equipment list and location within the crew cabin for the medical care and monitoring equipment. Conceptual crew configuration, ingress/egress procedures, and patient/equipment access are validated via physical simulation in a full-scale mockup of the proposed X-37SA crew cabin.
|Advisor:||Robinson, Stephen K.|
|Commitee:||Fathallah, Fadi, Joshi, Sanjay, Ravani, Bahram|
|School:||University of California, Davis|
|Department:||Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 57/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Aerospace engineering, Mechanical engineering, Medicine|
|Keywords:||Ambulance, Low-G, Reentry, Space medicine, Spacecraft, X37|
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