Neutral Buoyancy Technologies for Extended Performance Testing of Advanced Space Suits 2003-01-2415
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. All of these measurements systems taken together can provide a much more detailed and quantitative evaluation of a pressure suit in realistic simulations of its operating environment.