Dana Vaisler of StemRad wearing AstroRad vest prototype in front of Orion Capsule at Johnson Space Center. Note vest contours which correspond to enhanced protection around sensitive organs – bone marrow, colon, stomach, ovaries and breast tissue. Credit: StemRad.

NASA and the Israel Space Agency have signed an agreement for use of the AstroRad radiation protection vest on NASA’s Exploration Mission-1 flight.

AstroRad is the second product developed by StemRad, following the success of its first product, called StemRad 360 Gamma – the world’s first wearable shield that provides meaningful protection from harmful gamma radiation.

StemRad collaborated with NASA’s prime contractor for the Orion spacecraft, Lockheed Martin, to adapt its technology for use in space. StemRad is an Israeli-American company headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel.

When venturing into lengthy, piloted deep space missions, the threat of radiation exposure is significantly higher, posing as one of the most significant dangers facing crew members.

An artist rendering of the Matroshka Radiation Phantoms – one protected with the AstroRad vest and one unprotected. Credit: StemRad

Trial test

Called the “Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment”, or MARE for short, an EM-1 test will be comprised of two Matroshka test dummies – one naked and one wearing AstroRad. The Matroshkas, containing thousands of radiation detectors, will be supplied by the German Aerospace Center.

While EM-1 will not likely encounter a solar storm, the mission will pass through the Van Allen radiation belt – a zone of energetic charged particles that emanate from solar winds – providing an opportunity to test AstroRad in conditions similar to those found during a solar storm.

Ergonomically correct

When passing through the belt, the radiation sensors on the dummies will be on and will record readings during the passage. Should the trial be successful, AstroRad will be used on crewed missions to deep space.

Additionally, AstroRad is expected to be used aboard the International Space Station beginning in 2019 for advanced ergonomic studies in microgravity.

For more information on StemRad, go to:

www.stemrad.com

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