Evaluation of the Rear Entry I-Suit during Desert RATS Testing 2006-01-2143
ILC Dover, LP designed and manufactured a rear entry upper torso prototype for the I-Suit advanced spacesuit. In September 2005 ILC Dover participated in the Desert Research and Technology Study (RATS) led by the Advanced Extravehicular Activity (EVA) team from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Johnson Space Center (JSC). Desert RATS is a two-week remote field test at Meteor Crater, Arizona. Team members are from NASA, several universities, and a number of industry partners. These groups come together to gain hands-on experience with advanced spacesuit systems and to develop realistic requirements for future Moon and Mars exploration. Desert RATS gave ILC Dover the opportunity to put the rear entry I-Suit through many rigorous tests. The lessons learned there will be valuable for determining basic requirements for future lunar and Mars missions.
Desert RATS utilizes a ‘learn-by-doing’ approach for understanding what future requirements should be developed. This approach allows people to experience first hand how a spacesuit will interface with various elements of lunar and martian exploration. Lessons learned with regard to donning and doffing the rear entry I-Suit, ingressing and egressing the rover, driving and controlling the rover, collecting biological samples, collecting rock samples and following a checklist through a helmet mounted display (HMD) will be reviewed in this paper.