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Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers [journal]
- Space Sled--a device for the investigation of the physiological effects of weightlessness. [Journal Article]
- Proc Inst Mech Eng G J Aerosp Eng 1989.:1-10.
Space Sled is a device for providing controlled linear acceleration stimuli in the microgravity environment of orbital flight. The scientific objectives of the experiments which used Space Sled on the D-1 Spacelab mission were to study aspects of otolith organ (that is, that part of the inner ear which transduces linear accelerations) function and adaptation in weightlessness. Space Sled comprises electrical and mechanical sub-systems. The latter is made up of a carriage running on twin rails that are fixed to the floor of Spacelab. The assembly is 6 m long with a working section of 3.5 m. The seat accommodating the test subject can be mounted on the carriage in any of three orthogonal positions. The carriage is coupled by a flexible steel cable to a servo-controlled electric motor which is capable of producing a peak acceleration of 2 m/s2 and peak velocity of 2.4 m/s. In the event of failure of comprehensive safety circuits in the electrical sub-system, a mechanical snubber, of crushable honeycomb construction, limits the deceleration to 20 m/s2. Mechanical structures providing carriage guidance, Sled/Spacelab interfaces, carriage latching, motor mounting and cable tensioning are detailed in the paper.