NASA and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) have signed an agreement on Tuesday for the use of a radiation suit developed by Israeli company AstroRad.
NASA will launch the vest-like suit, as part of last test flight of Orion spacecraft into the deep space mission. If the test, called “Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE)” the company hopes the results of the experiment will lead NASA to use the suit in future manned missions to space.
As women are particularly vulnerable to space radiation, the first step is an adapted suit for female astronauts. AstroRad, protects vital body organs and tissues which are especially sensitive to ionizing radiation damage such as pelvis, lungs, ensuring the survival of critical bone marrow stem cells, the large intestine, breast, stomach, colon and the ovaries, the agency said in a statement.
StemRad partnered with aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, NASA’s prime contractor for its deep space Orion capsule in 2015 to adapt its technology for use in space.
Founded in 2011 by Dr. Oren Milstein and Daniel Levitt. and headquartered in Tel Aviv with additional offices in Tampa, Florida. StemRad develops and manufactures wearable anti-radiation equipment for military, scientific and medical applications. In December, StemRad has raised $6 million investment round.
According to co-founder Dr. Oren Milstein, “This is the first product of its kind that protects against gamma radiation, which has until now killed people who have been exposed to it.
In addition, the Israel Space Agency will soon sign an agreement with Lockheed Martin 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.
In 2017, 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 towards understanding the benefit provided by AstroRad.
The German Aerospace Center (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 the return of Orion to Earth, teams from NASA, DLR and ISA will perform a comparative analysis on the efficacy of AstroRad.