MASTIF (Multiple Axis Space Test Inertia Facility)
MASTIF (Multiple Axis Space Test Inertia Facility) was a three-axis gimbal rig, built by the Lewis Research Center (now the Glenn
Research Center), which simulated tumble-type maneuvers that might be
encountered during a space mission. Three tubular aluminum cages could revolve
separately or in combination to give roll, pitch, and yaw motions at speeds, up to 30 rpm, greater than those expected in actual spaceflight.
Nitrogen-gas jets, attached to the three cages, controlled the motion. At
the center of the innermost cage, the pilot was strapped into a plastic
seat, similar to that in a Mercury capsule. His head, body, and legs were
held in place, leaving only his arms free. The pilot actuated the jets by
means of a right-hand control column. Communication was by radio which was
operated by a button atop the left-hand column. Complex tumbling motions
were started by the operator at the control station and control then switched
to the pilot. By reading instruments mounted at eye level before him, the
pilot interpreted his motions and made corrections accordingly.
|Jerrie Cobb takes a spin in the MASTIF in 1960
From February 15 to March 4, 1960, MASTIF provided training for all seven Mercury Project astronauts. Each experienced
about five hours of "flight time." Later that year, a set of women
pilots also used the device as part of a broader assessment of abilities
(see Mercury Thirteen). In addition,
the rig was used to evaluate instrument control systems for spaceflight
and to study the physiological effects of spinning, such as eye oscillation
and motion sickness.
AND AEROSPACE MEDICINE