As a result of that 2005 BRAC, the School of Aerospace Medicine moved from Brooks City-Base in San Antonio to Wright-Patterson in 2011. The school had been in San Antonio for 85 years.
“At that time, in response to the BRAC, the Air Force capitalized on the value of integrating multiple human performance-related elements into a single unit,” Phillipson said.
Such a concentration of missions was meant to “broaden the scope of human performance to accomplish research, training, education and consultation,” he said.
And researchers have taken notice. Phillipson and Maertens said NASA and private rocket builder Space X, among others, have each tested cockpit equipment in the AFRL centrifuge, which can exert massive G-force pressures.
Bob Behnken, NASA astronaut, enters the Air Force Research Laboratory’s centrifuge for his spin during testing Nov. 2, 2018 at the Air Force Research Laboratory's centrifuge facility at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. (U.S. Air Force photo by Keith Lewis)
“They were working to design their cockpit modules to make sure they would be able to — under G-forces, under different parameters, when they’re out there flying — be able to actually reach and interface with all the different switches that they need to use,” Maertens said.
And researchers are already lining up to employ the new RAC chambers, the men noted.
The first RAC chamber, which was demonstrated Thursday, can hold up to 20 people and attain the conditions of a maximum altitude of 100,000 feet.
On Thursday, technicians pushed chamber conditions from 30,000 to 65,000 feet, more than double the height of the summit of Mount Everest.