NASA is leveraging the capabilities of the U.S. Navy’s Kraken device, originally designed to simulate flight and assist pilots in overcoming motion sickness. First introduced in 2017 by the Navy, the Kraken was developed to familiarize pilots with the movements and sensations they encounter during airborne operations. Now, NASA intends to utilize the Kraken to train astronauts for space travel.
By entering the Kraken, astronauts can undergo simulated movements akin to those experienced during an actual spaceflight launch. The primary objective is to alleviate the disorientation that often accompanies space travel and enhance astronauts’ ability to manage motion sickness. This preparation is crucial because motion sickness can mislead pilots into perceiving unintended ship behavior, potentially leading to errors with severe consequences, including injury or fatality.
Historically, space exploration has carried inherent risks, with various tragedies underscoring the perils of our planet’s space programs. However, NASA’s employment of the Kraken device holds the promise of reducing the likelihood of issues arising from astronaut-related factors, thereby minimizing the potential for human error to the fullest extent possible.
An essential objective of utilizing the Kraken is to ready astronauts for the initial disorientation they experience following a launch. According to NASA astronaut Douglas Wheelock, the moments immediately after liftoff can be bewildering as the body struggles to orient itself in terms of up, down, left, and right. Through the implementation of the Kraken, NASA aims to alleviate this confusion by training astronauts’ bodies to adapt and respond effectively.
Situated at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, the Kraken is an impressive 50-foot-long, 100-ton platform. Its remarkable customizability allows it to replicate various types of flights. Specifically, NASA astronauts will utilize a spaceflight configuration on the Kraken to assess their capabilities and prepare for actual space missions.
To gain a better understanding of the Kraken and the motivations behind its construction by the U.S. Navy, a video showcasing the machine can be viewed above. This monstrous apparatus holds significant potential in enhancing the safety of future space travel endeavors, including the upcoming Artemis III mission aimed at returning humans to the Moon.