Israeli radiation vest to be used on NASA’s moon mission

NASA and the Israel Space Agency have signed an agreement for the use of the AstroRad radiation protection vest, produced by the Israeli company StemRad.

By: World Israel News Staff

A radiation protection vest developed by an Israel company will be tested by NASA on its Orion EM-1 Mission around the Moon.

NASA and the Israel Space Agency have signed an agreement for the use of the AstroRad radiation protection vest, produced by the Israeli company StemRad.

NASA will launch the vest into space as part of its latest test flight of the Orion spacecraft, before manned missions are launched. If the trial, dubbed “Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE)” is successful, it may have applicability for future exploration.

The Orion EM-1 Mission is the first unmanned planned flight of the Space Launch System and the second flight of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. The launch is planned for 2019. It is planned to be followed by Exploration Mission 2 in 2023.

Orion is intended to facilitate human exploration of asteroids and of Mars and to retrieve crew or supplies from the International Space Station if needed.

NASA’s Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot and Israel Space Agency Director Avi Blasberger signed the agreement on Tuesday, during the 34th Space Symposium in Colorado.

AstroRad was developed by StemRad following the success of its first product, a belt for emergency first responders that protects the pelvis, ensuring survival of critical bone marrow stem cells, a belt which is now widely used around the world. StemRad collaborated with Lockheed Martin, to adapt this technology for use in space.

The StemRad vest was adapted for use in space based on the principle of selective protection of the bone marrow, which is important for blood cell renewal, and other organs that are sensitive to radiation exposure, which could lead to the development of cancer. As women are particularly vulnerable to space radiation, the first step is an adapted suit for women.

Israel’s ‘out of the box’ thinking

Similarly, the Israel Space Agency will soon sign an agreement with Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company to launch the vest to the International Space Station (ISS) at the beginning of 2019. The astronauts on ISS will wear the vest during their daily routine at the station for the purpose of ergonomic evaluation.

This evaluation together with radiation protection data obtained from the AstroRad experiment on Orion EM-1 will provide NASA with all the necessary information for assessing the AstroRad as essential personal protective equipment for future manned deep space missions such as Orion EM-2 and any future missions to Mars.

Israel’s Minister of Science Ofir Akunis stated that “Israeli technology in ​​space exploration is known throughout the world as innovative, resulting from ‘out of the box’ thinking. We are proud to facilitate this technology and enable it to be part of one of humanity’s most exciting experiments in the coming years.”

Last year, the Israel Space Agency signed an agreement with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) to use its expertise in the examination of deep space radiation effects and its absorption in the human body to understand AstroRad’s benefits.

DLR will contribute their “Matroshka” human model, containing thousands of radiation detectors, which will launch as part of the EM-1 flight. “Matroshka” will wear the AstroRad vest alongside a “Matroshka” without a vest. Upon Orion’s return to Earth, teams from NASA, DLR and ISA will perform a comparative analysis on AstroRad’s efficacy.