History of Research in Space Biology and Biodynamics
 
 
- PART II -
 
MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS IN SPACE BIOLOGY AT THE AIR FORCE MISSILE DEVELOPMENT CENTER
1953-1957
 
 
 

(MISSING PHOTO)
LT. Colonel David G. Simons
 
[11] Many projects at the Air Force Missile Development Center contribute directly to man's efforts to explore the vertical frontier and to probe into space far beyond the earth's atmosphere. It is the Space Biology Branch of the Aeromedical Field Laboratory, however, that is most concerned with man himself crossing this threshold, and which is preparing the way for manned satellites and piloted space vehicles. Headed by Doctor (Major) David G. Simons since the formal creation of the unit at Holloman Air Force Base in 1953, scientists and technicians of this organization have been pursuing a series of research tasks which, since 1954, have been grouped together as Project 7851--Human Factors of Space Flight.
 
Research in space biology during three years has yielded significant results concerning human reaction to subgravity or zero-g conditions, problems of human reentry into the earth's atmosphere, and other matters of importance. Research in the Biodynamics Branch of the Aeromedical Field Laboratory concerning the effects of abrupt and sustained acceleration and deceleration is also important in understanding the physiology of human rocket flight. All these topics will be treated in forthcoming historical studies. In the pages which follow here, however, attention will center primarily upon major achievements in three specific areas of endeavor.
 
One of the principal themes of this study is research concerning the effects of cosmic radiation on human and other forms of life. A second major topic is the development of a true space capsule for long-duration, high-altitude, space-equivalent flights--culminating in the Man-High balloon ascent of 19-20 August 1957 by Major Simons. Before considering these subjects, however, it will be useful to discuss briefly certain technological developments related to placing these experiments into proper environment and recovering them in time for further observations. Without these technical advances, outstanding accomplishments in the other areas of research would have been much more difficult if not impossible.
 

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