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July 18th Professional Event: Neutral Buoyancy Testing and Human Spaceflight

  • 1.  July 18th Professional Event: Neutral Buoyancy Testing and Human Spaceflight

    Posted 30 Jun, 2022 21:49

    AIAA GHS will host a special professional event on Monday, July 18th at 6 PM. NASA retirees Jack Stokes and Jim Splawn will join us to share their experiences working on neutral buoyancy testing in support of space mission concept development, crew training, and the Skylab program. This free event will be held at the Huntsville Downtown Library Auditorium.

    About the speakers:
    Jack Stokes is a native of North Carolina and a graduate of N. C. State University, Mr. Stokes had a career in aerospace as a Human Factors Engineer with the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Assignments included involvement in the development of the Lunar Rover, the Skylab space station, the International Space Station, and the cancelled Constellation program. After serving as a NASA on-site coordinator for the Tektite II mission in U.S. Virgin Islands during 1970, he subsequently coordinated and supervised the tests conducted in the Marshall Neutral Buoyancy Simulator from 1975 through 1983. His efforts in large space structures assembly culminated in the EASE/ACCESS flight experiment (STS-61B). Involved with the International Space Station from its inception in 1984, he served in the Space Station Program Office and in the Chief Engineer's Office, experiencing a short interruption at NASA Office of Space Flight, Washington, DC in 1997. Station involvement included establishing station-concept human factors requirements and oversight for the human factors aspects of the two Italian Space Agency-provided modules by the for the International Space Station. Having served as the co-lead for the NASA-level Human Factors Integration Standards (NASA-STD-3000), he was subsequently involved in establishing the ground operator Human Factors Engineering requirements for the now-defunct Constellation Program. Prior to retirement he mentored the Space Launch System (SLS) ground processing pre-launch design including virtual processing design with avatars. His last NASA assignment was to serve as a critical design review independent assessor for the current NASA SLS rocket pre-launch ground operations design. Mr. Stokes has several recognitions including the NASA Silver Snoopy Award and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal. He has several publications and one technical movie relative to human factors engineering in space vehicle design. As a retiree, he remains involved with local outreach within the Huntsville community. He is an active member of the U. S. Space & Rocket Center's Emeritus Docent program.

    Jim Splawn was the co-founder of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center's Neutral Buoyancy Simulator in the mid-1960s. The full-scale Skylab hardware was tested in this facility. Jim trained 15 astronauts for the Skylab program (9 for flight and 6 backup). He also helped to develop tools, techniques, and crew training to save Skylab after damage to its heat shield on launch. In 1973, Jim was re-assigned to the Space Shuttle Main Engine. In this talk, he will share his experiences working in the Neutral Buoyancy Simulator and the simulations that enabled the ultimate success of the Skylab program, which paved the way for future habitation platforms like ISS.

    Tracie Prater