The UAE’s first astronauts, Hazza Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Niadi, experienced just that as part of their training in Russia’s Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in preparation for their April 5 space flight to the International Space Station.
In a video posted by the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) on Wednesday night, the two astronauts-in-training were shown undergoing the centrifuge test.
The centrifuge test is a machine used to train fighter pilots and astronauts to cope with the high gravitational forces when their rocket maneuvers or leaves the atmosphere.
The machine has a chamber where a person is strapped in a reclining position. This is connected to an arm six feet in diameter that spins so fast it’s capable of generating g-force for human use. While the trainees are being spun around, doctors and trainers monitor the changes taking place in their bodies to see how they react to accelerative stress.
UAE’s first astronauts @Astro_hazzaa and @Astro_Alneyadi undertaking the centrifuge test at Russia’s Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre as part of their training ahead of historic space journey to International Space Station. #UAEastronauts pic.twitter.com/nQKqMmaO68
— MBR Space Centre (@MBRSpaceCentre) October 17, 2018
During the test, everything would feel heavy for the person, even his arms and head.
Those who can’t tolerate accelerative stress may experience what is known as G-LOC or loss of consciousness.
In the video, headshots of Hazza and Sultan showed how well their bodies fared during the test. Hazza could be seen calmly controlling his breathing while Sultan was shown taking the test in stride. One of them flashed a thumbs up after the test.
Both Emiratis are from the UAE military. Hazza is a military fighter pilot while Sultan has an IT background.
The test is part of the pair’s eight-month training in Russia, Europe and America.