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Above: A conceptual drawing of the Cheget cosmonaut chair. Copyright © 2013 Anatoly Zak
Cosmonaut Mark Serov demonstrates a new-generation Cheget chair inside the PTK NP spacecraft prototype. Copyright © 2013 Anatoly Zak
Cheget chair inside the PTK NP spacecraft prototype. Copyright © 2013 Anatoly Zak
A prototype of the Cheget chair under development at NPP Zvezda. Copyright © 2013 Anatoly Zak
A Kazbek chair installed on the Soyuz spacecraft. Copyright © 2011 Anatoly Zak
Previous chapter: Descent module of PTK NP
One size fits all
Russia's veteran Soyuz spacecraft was equipped with Kazbek cosmonaut chairs, named after a mountain in the Caucasus range. Each Kazbek required a seatliner custom-made for an individual crew member. Every seatliner would be uniquely molded to the body size and other "anthropometrical" parameters of each individual cosmonaut, in order to provide maximum cushioning during landing. If cosmonauts in orbit wanted to "switch seats," seatliners had to installed in respective positions first.
The manufacturing of seatliners required a great deal of time and effort, adding to the cost and complexity of Soyuz missions. Not surprisingly, developers of Russia's next-generation spacecraft, PTK NP, hoped to do away with custom-built components, replacing them with a reusable seat that could be adjusted to any member of the cosmonaut corps, a foreign astronaut or a space tourist.
Cheget chair development
The new-generation cosmonaut chair was dubbed Cheget -- yet another great mountain in the Caucasus. Traditionally, for all cosmonaut gear and life-support hardware, the development of the Cheget chair was delegated to NPP Zvezda, based in the town of Tomilino, southeast of Moscow.
By 2012, the first scale models of the Cheget chair were manufactured and during 2013, the first full-scale mockup of the Cheget chair was assembled. Russian engineers used innovative 3D printing technology to produce scale models and components of the full-scale prototype. Four real-size prototypes of the Cheget chair were also manufactured and installed inside a full-scale model of the PTK NP spacecraft, which was displayed at the Moscow Air and Space Show in Zhukovsky in August 2013.
For the operational version of the Cheget chair, Russian engineers planned to use new carbon material, which promised 60 kilograms in savings when compared to a metal version of the same chair.
Next chapter: Landing system of PTK NP
Known specifications of the Cheget chair (as of 2013):
Text, photos and graphics by Anatoly Zak
Last edit: February 19, 2015
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