Chameleon Suit – From Potential to Reality 2004-01-2293
An important, though often unstated, requirement to achieve NASA’s strategic goals will be an Extravehicular Activity (EVA) system that will let future astronauts work safely and effectively at the chosen destinations without imposing unacceptable burdens on the astronauts or the mission systems that support them. Past studies have shown that this may present an insurmountable challenge if pursued with current technologies and system design concepts. With funding from the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC), Hamilton Sundstrand has been studying a conceptual architecture for future EVA systems to meet this challenge. The Chameleon Suit concept shifts the EVA design paradigm from one in which the pressure garment and life support system are separate, largely independent subsystems to one in which the EVA system integrates distributed life support functions with the pressure suit. This creates new opportunities to use surrounding environments to help in providing life support needs while reducing system mass and expendable resource requirements.
Study results have shown that the concept offers significant potential benefits and can be implemented using technologies that are currently emerging and expected to achieve practical application within the next 10 – 40 years. A technology roadmap reflecting anticipated maturation and infusion of the enabling technologies has been developed and is presented together with corresponding descriptions of potentially achievable designs implementing the concept to support anticipated space exploration missions.