National Space Day | Rigging in Space
Did you know that today, May 1st, is national space day? We here at Hercules Group of Companies wanted to participate in the fun spirit of today by having a look at some of the ways rigging and fall protection equipment is used in outer space!
Yes, you heard us right – Rigging is essential in many different sectors, and space exploration is included on that list, how cool?! Check out these 5 ways rigging and fall protection equipment like wire rope, harnesses and shackles make space exploration possible:
1. Specially Designed Steel Rope Riser Cables – Orion Spacecraft
NASA’s Orion spacecraft is built to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before. Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.
In order for the Orion spacecraft to safety return to Earth, it relies on it’s parachute – a parachute that’s equipped with specially designed steel rope riser cables! in 2014, NASA conducted a test flight for the Orion Space Capsule where after making two orbits of the Earth, it reentered the atmosphere and was brought to a successful splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
2. Cicoil engineered Biomedical Harness – Apollo 11
When Neil Armstrong took his historic first step on the surface of the Moon, he was wearing a bio-belt that was fitted with a Cicoil engineered Biomedical Harness. This harness took the typical safety measures of a lead and harness and kicked it up a notch, with special biotelemetry technology that allowed for tracking vital signs of the astronauts, such as heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, body temperature, and pulse rate to be recorded and evaluated.
Since at the time they were uncertain of the effects on the human body associated with Space flight, this elevated harness allowed for surgeons at the Ground Command Center in Houston to identify problems in real-time and provide quick solutions. Without this important piece of what we like to think of as EXTREMELY elevated fall protection, who can say that the Moon landing expedition would have been possible.
3. Exercise Countermeasures – ISS
The human body goes through a lot when going into space, and negative effects on the body can be associated with long periods spent in space. NASA uses exercise countermeasures on the International Space Station (ISS) in order to maintain their crew’s health and combat these negative effects. Most of these countermeasure exercise systems rely heavily on textile and wire rope as well as fall protection style systems and harnesses.
There are many different specially designed exercise machines used in space. If you’re interested in learning a bit more about these, click here for some examples! In the photo here you see an astronaut using a specially designed version of a treadmill, strapped in using a lead and harness to allow him to complete his workout without floating away!
4. PBI Fiber Rope Sleep Restraint – Apollo 11
Looking at another example from the famous Apollo 11, sleep restraints were made out 10-foot PBI (polybenzimidazole) fiber rope with plastic ferrules on the ends to prevent fraying. Sleeping bags were latched to the center aisle of sleeping quarters using this special rope. This is a system that at its core is still in place in modern space exploration, but has of course been updated.
The photo featured here is one of the five ropes flown on the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. These were transferred to the Smithsonian in 1970 as important aspects of history being made in space exploration!
No matter how out of this world the project – Hercules SLR is here to support you every step of the way.
Hercules SLR is your source for cranes, hoists, wire rope, fall arrest equipment and much, much more. We also provide equipment rentals and perform inspections, repairs, and certifications, at your business or in one of our fully-equipped shops. Need assistance staying safety compliant? Our experienced consultants help with risk assessment, PPE specification, hazard analysis, fall protection, and incident investigation. Other services include the design and installation of horizontal lifelines, vertical lifelines and anchor points.
Hercules SLR is your one-stop-shop for securing, rigging and lifting!