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Dr. Richard Hamilton takes part in Virgin Galactic’s space travel training

December 5, 2007

Richard Hamilton, MD, chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine, was on hand yesterday as Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson underwent training for commercial space travel at Environmental Tectonics Corporation's National Aerospace Training and Research (NASTARSM) Center in Southampton, PA. Virgin Galactic is on track to become the world's first commercial spaceline and provider of private suborbital spaceflights. Dr. Hamilton is leading the team that is evaluating the medical suitability of those first space tourists to travel on a non-government sponsored vehicle.

Hamilton was selected to lead NASTAR Center's medical team in part because of his special expertise in aviation medicine, space flight physiology, and centrifuge-based training and simulation from his early career as a U.S. Navy flight surgeon. NASTAR Center is equipped with leading-edge simulation technology, including a state-of-the-art human centrifuge that can provide commercial space travelers the ability to experience sustained elevated G exposure, and other technology which is used for training in altitude exposure, spatial disorientation, and other physiological effects of entering the space environment.

Branson and Hamilton were joined at yesterday's event by a few of the first Virgin Galactic space travelers, known as Founders, who have been training at NASTAR Center over the past several months. Hamilton has been monitoring their training from a medical perspective.

"This training is extremely important to prepare space travelers and insure safety," said Hamilton. "I am honored and excited to be a part of this history-making process."

Also on hand were Drexel University president Dr. Constantine Papadakis and William F. Mitchell, CEO and president of Environmental Tectonics Corporation and an alumnus of Drexel University.