Jun.14, 2013

The Chinese Shenzhou 10 spacecraft was launched on Tuesday from northwest China's Gobi desert. China is the third country after the United States and Russia to acquire the technologies and skills necessary for space rendezvous and docking procedures, as well as supply manpower and material for an orbiting module via different docking methods.

Many people concerned about astronauts' safety and life conditions. According to Tianjin University, scientists have devoted years to develop high-tech equipment to make life in space easier.

Professor Cui Guoqi, the director of Rapid Prototyping Research Center in Tianjin University, said the team has begun with developing tailor-made seats for Chinese astronauts since 1998.

The seat, made of 70-millimeter-thick composite materials, was installed also on Shenzhou 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, spacecrafts. Its shape looks very much like a bathtub. "During launch and landing these specially designed seats could protect the astronauts, especially their backbones, from being hurt by the jolt during acceleration," explained Cui.

"We collect physical data from astronaut candidates, like the measurements of their spacesuits, but the seats require much more data than the suits. These data will then form a 3D model in the computer."

Cui said they increased the 3D measurement from 800,000 pixels to 2,000,000, and the number of data was increased from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. "With more precise data, the seat will be better fitting and able to defuse more impact."

The data was then processed and sent to a 3D printer. Using 3D printing technology researchers were able to create the customized seats specially designed for each astronaut in a relatively short time.

(Image: Wang Qing)

"Every seat should be tested by the astronaut in person and undergo adjustments to make it more precise." said Cui.

For Liu Yang, China's first female astronaut, a team was arranged to design the seat specially for her. It took about three months to design, print and test the seat. Cui said Liu Yang told him the seat was "safe and well-suited" after she finished her space mission in June 2012.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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akka69 wrote at 6/14/2013 4:31:07 PM:

Except that when they stay an extended period of time in Space, astronauts usually grow few inches because their spine disks are not anymore subjected to weight. I guess the exactly fitting seat will feel to small on their way back...

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