Zero Gravity on Earth Becoming Reality

The experience in space research accumulated by the space-faring nations became the impetus for continuous work on the creation of low gravity on Earth. As previously stated, the European Space Agency (ESA) plans to build a small copy of the lunar surface on Earth. For the creation of low gravity, the ESA plans to install a gravitational discharge system. According to Frank De Winne, the Head of the European Astronaut Centre, the ESA does not foresee any negative effects by this system for astronauts.

The gravitational discharge system is an offloading system, based on a mechanical installation driven by electrical motors, and governed by an IT system that will support the astronauts in order to mimic the motions of crew members with simulated gravity, which constitutes about a sixth of gravity as compared to Earth.

“The system basically senses the motion of the astronaut and supports the motion by means of electrical motors driving the offload system,” De Winne told Asgardia Space News.

There is no similar system in Russia, but for scientific research purposes in 2013, the Cosmonaut Training Center, jointly with specialists from the Institute of Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IMBP RAS), conducted the Constellation space experiment.

Scientists from IMBP RAS studied the conditions of landing astronauts on the "other planet". The astronaut’s movement and the execution of separate operations by them on the surface of the “other planet” was carried out under simulated conditions of reduced weight. In this experiment, the astronaut wore the Orlan spacesuit, weighing about 120 kg. In order to move, a unique simulator was developed with an active force compensating system of suspension.

“The simulator is a special suspension system, which engineers outputted using a crane,” Oleg Voloshin, press-secretary in IMBP RAS told Asgardia Space News. “In preparation for the experiment, the simulator was modernized to carry out extra-vehicular activities in a spacesuit with simulated gravity, which constituted of about a third of gravity on the surface of the Earth.”

Photo credit: Roscosmos

Jessica Zeitz