Dubai: If you think economy seats are tight, wait till you see what the UAE’s first Emirati astronaut will be on as he travels to the International Space Station (ISS) on September 25.
The seats of the UAE’s first two Emirati astronauts are now getting fitted as shown in videos and photos Dubai Media Office tweeted on Sunday.
In the video, the first Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Manzouri, and reserve astronaut, Sultan Al Neyadi were being measured for their custom seats for the Soyuz MS-15 journey to the ISS.
Hazza and Sultan were shown sporting a Sokol spacesuit, a light spacesuit not more than 10kg which astronauts use onboard the Soyuz capsule to protect them from the harmful conditions of space during launch and descent to Earth.
Getting the seats custom-fitted with liners or “contoured couches” for each crew is important to ensure a tight, comfortable fit during ascent, descent and landing, according to Nasa. Each seat liner is individually molded to fit the crew member’s body.
The Soyuz-MS15 spacecraft is 7.48 meters long with a maximum diameter of 2.72 meters, but its descent module where the crew will be sitting has a habitable volume of only four cubic metres. All three crew members it can carry will be cooped up in that tight space at one time.
Strapping the astronauts to their seats in an upright position with both knees raised near their chest ensures their safety during descent as they escape the earth’s gravity and during their re-entry when landing.
Meaning, no leg room during the six-hour flight.
Astronauts in previous interviews have described feeling being pushed upward, their face almost touching the dashboard, as the seats are cocked to absorb the shock and protect them when they land.
Currently, Hazza and Sultan are completing their training in preparation for the spaceflight. Once on space, Hazza will conduct research in various fields specifically to show the effect of zero gravity on the human body in research experiments, compared to gravity on Earth.