Friday, December 30, 2005

Submarine Space Travel Analogies - Part II: Rules for Civilian Embarkation

<<<< Nuclear submarines
Are intensely compact multi-billion dollar vessels with highly sophisticated controls and hazards lurking throughout. These submarines routinely leave and return to the Earth's atmosphere into and from a very hostile environment. Seldom are bodies recovered when a submarine is lost.

The Hunt for Red October, Tom Clancy's first novel, was published in 1984. In 1990 Paramount Pictures released the movie starring Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin. It was a triumphant success during the next ten years. Between 1999 and 2000, civilian embarkations in the Pacific Fleet alone increased from 11,644 passengers to 14,273. The late submarine commander and author Ned Beach said, "The Navy's been doing this for many years -- as many as 50 or 60. It's all been well received and everyone has been pleased. Of course, if a disaster happens, then you have to cope with it."

In 2001, the U.S. Navy opened a formal investigation into the fatal collision of the U.S.S. Greeneville and the Japanese fishing boat Ehime Maru. Sixteen civilians were aboard the submarine when the accident happened. Two were at control stations. President Bush told reporters at the White House, "I think what’s going to be necessary is for Secretary Rumsfeld and the Defense Department to review all policy regarding civilian activity during military exercises." Rear Adm. Stephen Pietropaoli, a Navy spokesman, told reporters that both the Atlantic and Pacific submarine fleets are reviewing procedures involving embarkation of civilian guests on sea maneuvers.

EMBARKATION IN U.S. NAVAL SHIPS rules for civilians on submarines (excerpts only) Detailed current information on civilian embarkation can be found in the OPNAVINST 5720.2 series, Embarkation in U.S. Naval Ships,:
Psychiatric. Each individual who is to be embarkedon board a submarine should be seen by either a psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, or an undersea medical officer who will assess the motivation, elicit any fears or anxieties,and determine, if possible, the presence of any claustrophobictendencies.
Medical. Even minor chronic conditions which require continuous treatment cannot be allowed.
Endocrine Disorders. All forms of diabetes mellitus, no matter how mild, shall disqualify.
Overnight embarkation of females is permissible on vessels that can provide appropriate accommodations. Appropriate accommodations are defined as those which can be identified for their exclusive use.
Navy policy concerning pregnant women is outlined in reference (b) [OPNAVINST 6000.1A]. The policy applies to service women, civilians (in an official capacity) and guests.
This instruction applies to all individuals who may occasionally embark ortake passage in U.S. naval ships, with the following exceptions:
Civilians who are accredited as U.S.Navy technicians
News correspondents who are authorizedto embark under the procedures prescribed
Members of Congress, congressional staff members, and congressional committee staff members who have been invited to embark for the purpose of orientation, or to witness certain operations or demonstrations.
Guests will be berthed with officers if staying overnight and normally will subsist in the wardroom (with the exception of Tiger Cruise guests).
Pregnant women up to 210 days gestation maybe embarked unless medically prohibited. A medical statement signed by a doctor stating the duration of the pregnancy and fitness for embarkation must be submitted by the woman requesting the embarkation.
Women’s organizations, including those whose memberships have a high percentage of persons with Navy affiliation, may be authorized for local daylight cruises or overnight cruises by the appropriate fleet commander in chief.
Female entertainers may embark for local daylight cruises. Overnight embarkation requires the approval of the appropriate fleet commander in chief.

<<<< Spacecraft
In 2001, Californian Dennis Tito became the world's first space tourist riding a Soyuz spacecraft to the international space station. A year later, South African Mark Shuttleworth paid $20 million for his similar ride. Last year, Burt Rutan won a $10 million prize by sending SpaceShip One to the edge of space twice wihin only five days. Two months ago, Greg Olsen of New Jersey became the world's third commercial, space tourist to the international space station.

Space Tourism rules (excerpts only):
Too few rules present huge safety risks for would-be space tourists and innocent bystanders situated near launch and landing sites, the experts acknowledged. Pamela Meredith (LAWYER), who co-chairs the Washington-based Space Law Practice Group, said the the government must address major consumer safety and insurance issues before opening commercial spaceflight to private citizens.
2005 (123-page proposal was published in the Federal Register)
Passengers also would have to be trained on how to respond during emergencies
Before taking a trip that literally is out of this world, companies would be required to inform the "space flight participant" known in more earthly settings as a passenger of the risks. Passengers also would be required to provide written consent before boarding a vehicle for takeoff.


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