Browse Publications Technical Papers 2007-01-3133
2007-07-09

The Walkback Test: A Study to Evaluate Suit and Life Support System Performance Requirements for a 10 Kilometer Lunar Traverse in a Planetary Suit 2007-01-3133

As planetary suit and planetary life support systems develop, specific design inputs for each system relate to a presently unanswered question concerning operational concepts: What distance can be considered a safe walking distance for a suited crew member exploring the surface of the Moon to ‘walkback’ to the habitat in the event of a rover breakdown, taking into consideration the planned extravehicular activity (EVA) tasks as well as the possible traverse back to the habitat? It has been assumed, based on Apollo program experience, that 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) will be the maximum EVA excursion distance from the lander or habitat to ensure the crew member's safe return to the habitat in the event of a rover failure. To investigate the feasibility of performing a suited 10 km walkback, NASA-JSC assembled a multi-disciplinary team to design and implement the ‘Lunar Walkback Test’. The test was designed not only to determine the feasibility of a 10 km excursion, but also to collect human performance, biomedical, and biomechanical data relevant to optimizing space suit design and life support system sizing. These data will also be used to develop follow-on studies to understand interrelationships of such key parameters as suit mass, inertia, suit pressure, and center of gravity (CG), and the respective influences of each on human performance.

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