Suitable Flight Subject

Finally, the rudimentary capsule was ready. Meanwhile, Henry and Simons had been given the added job of preparing the animals. They had chosen to work with Macaca mulatto rhesus monkeys, due to their high intelligence and many physiological similarities to humans.

40 Holloman and the Albert Hall of Fame Training - with a note of caution

It was felt that an ability to learn simple tasks quickly, combined with their natural docility, would enable the rhesus monkeys to perform complex tasks in restricted situations. There was another important factor: the animals' reaction time in such tests - seven-tenths of a second - had proved to be only marginally slower than that of humans. Although they were ordinarily easy to keep and train in captivity, Simons nevertheless felt the ones he worked with were far from friendly. "I learned to always wear gloves when handling them,'' he recalled [6].

Simons's May 1949 report, Use of V-2 Rocket to Convey Primate to Upper Atmosphere (Air Force Technical Report 5821), is rich in details of the preparations for this endeavour.

"For a monkey to survive a V-2 rocket flight uninjured," he wrote, "he must, first of all, be mechanically secured so the oppositely directed warhead separation and parachute opening shocks of the order of 10 to 20 g's will not injure him. At the same time, he must be provided with means for existence in a virtual vacuum. The simplest and most direct approach to the latter problem is to enclose the animal in a pressurized container.

"Since the rocket firing may be delayed several hours after the animal had been placed in the nose-section, and since recovery might extend well into the next day, means must be provided for sustaining the animal in this container for 12 to 24 hours. This means that within the pressurized container, there must be an oxygen supply and an adequate material to absorb the carbon-dioxide and water vapour for 24 hours, plus the instrumentation for recording physiological reactions under conditions which do not exceed the animal's capacity for heat regulation.

"The size and shape of the Albert I capsule was determined by the space available in the rocket after all the other components were in position.

"By utilizing all the space available in the capsule, it was possible with difficulty to place a 9-pound rhesus monkey in it after the installation of associated equipment. The capsule was made as large as possible and still fit into the rocket test section. To conserve weight, it was constructed of aluminum. Serious difficulty was met in pressurizing the odd-shaped container and servicing the component parts. These components were difficult to reach because the access door was as small as possible to minimize pressurization problems, also, because of the internal bulkheads'' [9].

Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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