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Viewing 1 to 20 of 20
2004-07-19
Technical Paper
2004-01-2295
David L. Akin, Mary L. Bowden
The University of Maryland has performed a detailed design for the space equivalent of an atmospheric diving suit. The Space Construction and Orbital Utility Transport (SCOUT) is a small single-person spacecraft, with all necessary utilities for extended sorties away from the host station. Through a pair of AX-5 style space suit arms integrated into the cabin wall, as well as a trio of dexterous manipulators, the SCOUT operator can directly interact with the work site environment, performing spacecraft servicing, structural assembly, or other tasks traditionally done by an astronaut in a space suit. Originally designed as an augmentation to the NASA Gateway station architecture for the Earth-Moon L1 system, studies indicate that a SCOUT-type EVA system would represent a substantial benefit to International Space Station operations as well.
2007-07-09
Technical Paper
2007-01-3145
John Mularski, David L. Akin
The University of Maryland Space Systems Laboratory is developing the capability to simulate partial gravity levels for human operational activities through the use of ballast on body segments in the underwater environment. This capability will be important as NASA prepares to return to the Moon by the end of the next decade. The paper discusses various forms of partial gravity simulation used in the past, and derives a targeted set of applications for ballasted underwater simulations. Primary application of this technique is for static or quasistatic activities, such as collecting basic anthropometric data on reach envelopes or postural control, as well as accumulating an experience base on partial gravity habitat and vehicle design and operations.
2009-07-12
Technical Paper
2009-01-2571
Shane E. Jacobs, Massimiliano Di Capua, David L. Akin
This paper describes a unique concept for donning and doffing a spacesuit from a pressurized rover or habitat, which merges three independent concepts: suitports, neck-entry EVA suits, and the Morphing Upper Torso. The union of these concepts creates a novel and exciting suit and suitport system architecture, with many potential benefits over traditional suitport systems. To develop this concept, a neck-entry Morphing Upper Torso experimental model has been designed and fabricated, and systems level design studies have been performed, including visualization with the aid of CAD models of the neck-entry suitport on a small pressurized rover and a lunar habitat. As well, a donning test-station has been developed and used for experiments in 1-G, simulated microgravity and simulated partial gravity.
2009-07-12
Technical Paper
2009-01-2505
Syed-Ali A. Husain, David L. Akin
The Terrapin Undergraduate Rover for Terrestrial Lunar Exploration (TURTLE) system was developed as part of a senior design course at the University of Maryland; it has since become a test bed for habitability and life support studies. The design requirements for the project dictated a 2,500 kg pressurized lunar rover to sustain two crew members for eight days with a range of 100 km. Part of the design effort included a full-scale mock-up populated with volumetric representations of interior elements. This research proposes a solution to the life support requirements for spacecraft as well as design requirements for other habitat elements. An analysis of relevant technologies and their application to small rovers is presented. Habitability issues (with respect to interior layout of life support hardware) are also considered. Testing was done with the full-scale TURTLE mockup to determine suitable configuration of life support equipment.
2006-07-17
Technical Paper
2006-01-2287
Shane E. Jacobs, David L. Akin, Jeffrey R. Braden
A fully operational space suit analogue for use in a neutral buoyancy environment has been developed and tested by the University of Maryland’s Space Systems Laboratory. Repeated manned operations in the Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility have shown the MX-2 suit analogue to be a realistic simulation of operational EVA pressure suits. The suit is routinely used for EVA simulation, providing reasonable joint restrictions, work envelopes, and visual and audio environments comparable to those of current EVA suits. Improved gloves and boots, communications carrier assembly, in-suit drink bag and harness system have furthered the semblance to EVA. Advanced resizing and ballasting systems have enabled subjects ranging in height from 5′8″ to 6′3″ and within a range of 120 lbs to obtain experience in the suit. Furthermore, integral suit instrumentation facilitates monitoring and collection of critical data on both the suit and the subject.
2002-07-15
Technical Paper
2002-01-2311
F. Adam Korona, David L. Akin
The hybrid elastic design is based upon an American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) glove designed by at the Space Systems Laboratory (SSL) in 1985. This design uses an elastic restraint layer instead of convolute joints to achieve greater dexterity and mobility during EVA (extravehicular activity). Two pilot studies and a main study were conducted using the hybrid elastic glove and a 4000-series EMU (extravehicular activity unit) glove. Data on dexterity performance, joint range of motion, grip strength and perceived exertion was assessed for the EMU and hybrid elastic gloves with correlations to a barehanded condition. During this study, 30 test subjects performed multiple test sessions using a hybrid elastic glove and a 4000-series shuttle glove in a 4.3psid pressure environment. Test results to date indicate that the hybrid elastic glove performance is approximately similar to the performance of the 4000-series glove.
2001-07-09
Technical Paper
2001-01-2135
Jamie Lennon, Ella Atkins
Scenarios for a manned mission to Mars call for astronaut extravehicular activity teams to be accompanied by semi-autonomous rovers. These rovers must be able to safely follow the astronauts over a variety of terrain with minimal assistance. We propose a color-based visual tracking system as a high-speed robust sensory approach for astronaut following and present a quantitative analysis of its accuracy over a spectrum of astronaut motion profiles. To evaluate performance, we provide astronaut motion profiles to a simulator and record actual and perceived target location. We characterize tracking accuracy as a function of rover-astronaut separation distance and astronaut speed and heading. Future plans include closed-loop control of the rover based on visual feedback, rover motion simulation, and target re-acquisition algorithms.
2009-07-12
Journal Article
2009-01-2369
Massimiliano Di Capua, Adam Mirvis, Omar Medina, David L. Akin
This paper summarizes the activities of the University of Maryland Space Systems Laboratory in performing a design study for a minimum functionality lunar habitat element for NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. By creating and deploying a survey to personnel experienced in Earth analogues, primarily shipboard and Antarctic habitats, a list of critical habitat functions was established, along with their relative importance and their impact on systems design/implementation. Based on a review of relevant past literature and the survey results, four habitat concepts were developed, focused on interior space layout and preliminary systems sizing. Those concepts were then evaluated for habitability through virtual reality (VR) techniques and merged into a single design. Trade studies were conducted on habitat systems, and the final design was synthesized based on all of the results.
2007-07-09
Technical Paper
2007-01-3212
Agnieszka A. Kościelniak, David L. Akin
Real time knowledge of the metabolic workload of an astronaut during an Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) can be instrumental for space suit research, design, and operation. Three indirect calorimetry approaches were developed to determine the metabolic workload of a subject in an open-loop space suit analogue. A study was conducted to compare the data obtained from three sensors: oxygen, carbon dioxide, and heart rate. Subjects performed treadmill exercise in an enclosed helmet assembly, which simulated the contained environment of a space suit while retaining arm and leg mobility. These results were validated against a standard system used by exercise physiologists. The carbon dioxide sensor method was shown to be the most reliable and a calibrated version of it will be integrated into the MX-2 neutral buoyancy space suit analogue.
1999-07-12
Technical Paper
1999-01-2036
Brian J. Roberts, David L. Akin
Conventional ratcheting tools do not work efficiently in confined spaces and they have other limitations when used in space during extravehicular activity (EVA). The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a three-dimensional (3-D) sprag/roller technology that has many benefits over the ratchet mechanism. The Space Systems Laboratory at the University of Maryland is using this technology in the development of EVA tools. The research discussed here describes the testing of an EVA roller wrench aboard NASA’s Reduced-Gravity Flying Laboratory (the KC-135), evaluation by astronauts in NASA/Johnson Space Center’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, and the flight of a 3-D roller mechanism on Space Shuttle Mission STS-95.
2007-07-09
Technical Paper
2007-01-3232
David L. Akin, Shane Jacobs, David Gruntz
Extensive prior research at the University of Maryland Space Systems Laboratory has identified significant operational advantages to high levels of integration between EVA crew and dexterous robotics. Crew performance on recent Hubble Space Telescope repair missions was broken down into task primitives, and evaluated for the impact of dexterous robotics in direct support of extravehicular activity. Results demonstrate that direct EVA-robotic cooperation can increase human performance in satellite servicing tasks by factors ranging from at least 60% (for highly complex and dexterous servicing tasks) to as much as 400% for more simple activities with greater levels of planned orbital replacement unit (ORU) interchange. This paper details experimental and analytical investigations of differing approaches to adding dexterous robotic capabilities to the EVA work site, via increasingly direct integration of robotics into the space suit system itself.
2008-06-29
Technical Paper
2008-01-1986
Martin F. Stolen, Barrett Dillow, Shane E. Jacobs, David L. Akin
There has recently been an increasing focus on humans working cooperatively with robotic systems in space exploration and operations. Considerable work has been performed on distributed architectures to enable such interaction. The research described here looks at the human-robot interaction from the EVA astronaut's perspective, describing a first generation human-machine interface implemented and tested on an existing experimental spacesuit analog, the MX-2. The ultimate goal is to enable EVA astronauts to operate more independently of remote operators and work effectively with autonomous and teleoperated robots. The current system integrates speech interaction and visual interfaces as a first step towards this goal.
2008-06-29
Technical Paper
2008-01-1995
Shane E. Jacobs, David L. Akin
The research discussed in this paper demonstrates further advancements in the concept of a Morphing Upper Torso, which incorporates robotic elements within the pressure suit design to enable a resizable, highly mobile and easy to donn/doff spacesuit. A full scale experimental model has been made, which accompanies several analytical models. The Jacobian matrix for the robotic system, which multiplies the total twist vector of the system to yield the vector of actuator velocities, is derived. This dynamic analysis enables quantification of the dynamic actuator requirements, given demanded trajectories of the rings. A motion capture pilot study was done to develop a methodology to obtain measurements of suit movement and hence the ring trajectories. Subjects performed various tasks that a suited astronaut may perform on a planetary surface, while wearing a torso mockup within the motion capture system.
2008-06-29
Technical Paper
2008-01-1985
Sharon M. Singer, David L. Akin
Future space missions will involve humans and robots cooperatively performing operational tasks in various team combinations. Part of the required preparation for such missions includes understanding the issues involved in task allocation between disparate agents, and efficiently ordering tasks within the mission constraints. The scheduling tool developed in this research distributes pre-allocated task primitives between a cooperative human crew and dexterous robotic team. It combines real-world precedent constraints with algorithms from scheduling theory to reorder and tighten each crew member's individual schedule. The schedules minimize astronaut involvement time by stacking astronaut-performed tasks together in the schedule. This also minimizes astronaut workload in the completion of each task. Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission 3A was used as an example to test the allocation and scheduling tool.
2009-07-12
Technical Paper
2009-01-2529
Sharon M. Singer, David L. Akin
Employing a cooperative human and robotic team has the potential to greatly reduce human workload during space missions and create more efficient operational teams. The Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission 3A tasks were assessed and modeled with three different human and robot team pairings to elucidate the difference to team performance. Tasks were allocated to the standard two-human EVA crew and a robotic agent for each of the cases. The schedules reduce the human crew's involvement time in each EVA day's activities by rearranging subtasks to minimize the human crew's wait time. This work examines three agent participation scenarios and their effect on the expected efficiency of the cooperative team during mission activities.
2007-07-09
Technical Paper
2007-01-3170
Elizabeth A. Benson, Shane E. Jacobs, David L. Akin
The fit of a spacesuit has been identified as a crucial factor that will determine its usability. Therefore, because one-size-fits-all spacesuits seldom fit any wearer well, and because individually tailored spacesuits are costly, the University of Maryland has conducted research into a resizable Extravehicular Activity (EVA) suit. This resizing is accomplished through a series of cable-driven parallel manipulators, which are used to adjust the distance between plates and rings built into a soft space suit. These actuators, as well as enabling passive suit resizing, could be used to actively assist the astronaut's motion, decreasing the torques that must be applied for movement in a pressurized suit. This paper details the development and testing of an arm prototype, which is used to better understand the dynamics of a more complex torso-limb system.
2007-07-09
Technical Paper
2007-01-3171
Shane E. Jacobs, Elizabeth A. Benson, David L. Akin
The next generation of pressure suits must enable large-scale planetary Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVA). Astronauts exploring the moon and Mars will be required to walk many kilometers, carry large loads, perform intricate experiments, and extract geological samples. Advanced pressure suit architectures must be developed to allow astronauts to perform these and other tasks simply and effectively. The research developed here demonstrates integration of robotics technology into pressure suit design. The concept of a robotically augmented pressure suit for planetary exploration has been developed through the use of analytical and experimental investigations. Two unique torso configurations are examined, including a Soft/Hard Upper Torso with individually adjustable bearings, as well as advances in Morphing Upper Torso research, in which an all-soft torso is analyzed as a system of interconnected parallel manipulators.
2004-07-19
Technical Paper
2004-01-2292
David L. Akin
Space suit design has been limited to evolutionary steps since the first pressure suit was developed in 1934. While this development process has improved the fit to the wearer, it is still common to measure the performance of a pressure suit by identifying what fraction of shirtsleeve capability it allows. Given sufficient government and commercial support, space could in the future be an expanding realm of commercial and exploration activities, including return to the moon and human Mars exploration, with requirements for extravehicular activity orders of magnitude beyond the maximum envisioned for the International Space Station era. In such an environment, the need for breakthrough technology is to make the space suit into an augmentation of the human wearer, rather than an impediment.
2003-07-07
Technical Paper
2003-01-2415
David L. Akin, Jeffrey R. Braden
Performance of new space suit designs is typically tested quantitatively in laboratory tests, at both the component and integrated systems levels. As the suit moves into neutral buoyancy testing, it is evaluated qualitatively by experienced subjects, and used to perform tasks with known times in earlier generation suits. This paper details the equipment design and test methodology for extended space suit performance metrics which might be achieved by appropriate instrumentation during operational testing. This paper presents a candidate taxonomy of testing categories applicable to EVA systems, such as reach, mobility, workload, and so forth. In each category, useful technologies are identified which will enable the necessary measurements to be made. In the subsequent section, each of these technologies are examined for feasibility, including examples of existing technologies where available.
2004-07-19
Technical Paper
2004-01-2343
Jeffrey R. Braden, David L. Akin
The University of Maryland Space Systems Laboratory has developed a system that replicates some limited aspects of pressure suits to facilitate neutral buoyancy research into EVA bioinstrumentation, advanced EVA training, and EVA/robotic interactions. After a two year upgrade from its MX-1 predecessor, the MX-2 space suit analogue is currently undergoing a variety of system integration tests in preparation for initial operational testing, leading to routine use for EVA simulation and as a testbed for advanced space suit technology. The MX-2 is built around a hard upper torso with integrated hemispherical helmet and rear-entry hatch. Three-layer soft-goods are used for the arms and lower torso, while an open loop air system regulates suit pressure to 3 psid. Wrist disconnects allow the use of standard EMU or Orlan gloves, or experimental gloves such as the mechanical counterpressure gloves and power-assisted gloves developed previously by the SSL.
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