Task Spinal Elongation and its Effects on Seated Heights in a Microgravity Environment (Completed)
Last Published:  07/31/19 10:05:33 AM (Central)
Short Title: Spinal Elongation
Responsible HRP Element: Space Human Factors and Habitability
Collaborating Org(s):
Funding Status: Completed - Task completed and produced a deliverable
Procurement Mechanism(s):

The primary objective of this project was to provide information pertaining to changes in seated height due to spinal elongation in a microgravity environment.  Spinal elongation has been observed to occur in crew-members during space flight; however, it has only previously been recorded in the standing position with a limited number of subjects.  Seated height data in microgravity is considered necessary to identify correctly the seated height projections of the crew in the Orion configuration or future confined seated postures. 
The experiment aimed to:

  1. Collect seated height data for subjects exposed to microgravity environments
  2. Provide information relating to seated height rate of change over time
  3. Deliver new information regarding the elongation of the spine forward into the design of Constellation.

The Spinal Elongation Task completed all its aims, contributing to closure of the HAB gap on microgravity effects on spinal elongation. Study findings were provided to the Constellation Program’s Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) to aid with the seat design and evaluations, and account for in-space growth adjustments to accommodate crew in terms of clearance, fit, access/reach and seat ingress/egress. Results from this study were also delivered and can be added to the Human Integration Design Handbook (HIDH) in the form of recommendations and guidelines. This inflight activity provided microgravity data on crew anthropometry that could also be used in suit sizing adjustments in space. Further data will need to be collected to determine effect of the personal factors on anthropometric measurements and its trend over time.