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COLD TEST EVALUATION OF SOME COMPONENTS OF THE NASA MERCURY SURVIVAL KIT.
ARCTIC AEROMEDICAL LAB FORT WAINWRIGHT AK
Components of Project Mercury Survival Equipment were subjected to evaluation tests to determine their operational adequacy under low environmental temperatures. In-house comparative testing was performed on the NASA and the standard MB-4 one-man life rafts, to determine which raft provided greater protection against heat loss from subject to surroundings. Instrumented subjects, with and without air pillow for buttock insulation, were seated in the rafts in water at 2.0 C and ambient air temperatures of 0 and -18C, for 2-hour periods. Thermal variations were assayed by measuring rectal and selected skin temperatures. The raft and other components, such as the NASA life vest, strobe light, transceiver and water container, were also cold-soaked at -30C, to determine structural integrity and certain operational characteristics, both during the exposure and after rewarming to a more temperate state. Results obtained indicate that the NASA raft and, under certain conditions, possibly the water container are superior to current Air Force items for survival in cold environments. Also, the inclusion of an air pillow for buttocks insulation as a part of the raft assembly was indicated. Means for improving the global capability of the survival kit are suggested. Author
Technical documentary rept.,