Astronauts visit MDG commander for space suit demonstration

Reid Wiseman, U.S. Navy Cmdr. and astronaut, shares his experiences while in orbit to Col. Thatcher Cordon, commander of the 47th Medical Group, and to Blake Chamberlain, an Air Force Reserves colonel and astronaut, on Laughlin Air Force Base, May 17, 2017.  Wiseman and Chamberlain visited Laughlin to view a demonstration of Cardon’s award winning space suit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Hambor)

Reid Wiseman, U.S. Navy Cmdr. and astronaut, shares his experiences while in orbit to Col. Thatcher Cordon, commander of the 47th Medical Group, and to Blake Chamberlain, an Air Force Reserves colonel and astronaut, on Laughlin Air Force Base, May 17, 2017. Wiseman and Chamberlain visited Laughlin to view a demonstration of Cardon’s award winning space suit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Hambor)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

A NASA astronaut and a flight surgeon dropped into Laughlin to check out the new space suit designed by the 47th Medical Group commander Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

Col. Thatcher Cardon, 47th Medical Group commander, invented promising solutions for managing human waste in space, winning first place in the NASA’s Space Poop Challenge earlier this year.

Wednesday morning, Cardon received a call from Col. Black Chamberlain, now a NASA flight surgeon and a former 47th Medical Group flight surgeon that he and Reid Wiseman wanted to come out and take a look at his winning design.

“Part of it was I’d been looking for an excuse to come back out here to Laughlin and the other part was U.S. Navy Cmdr. Reid (Wiseman) and I wanted to see this design,” said Chamberlain.

For Chamberlain, it was a chance to come back to where he started his career from 1992 to 1996. “I loved the wide open skies at Laughlin and flying the T-37,” he said.

Wiseman has spent 165 days on the International Space Station as a flight engineer and 13 hours walking in space, giving him an expert perspective on Cardon’s creation. So, when the duo planned that day’s training sortie out of Johnson Space Center, they planned an hour stop at Laughlin.

“Of everything I’ve seen, this is the most believable and functional,” Wiseman said, after watching Cardon demonstrate the suit’s different capabilities. “He’s thought of everything.”

At one point, Wiseman wanted to try and send parts of the suit to the International Space Station for astronauts to try now.

“It was incredible to have someone who will use it say they thought it was great and that they want to test it,” said Cardon. “It was gratifying to see them look at it and understand the concept.”