Browse Publications Technical Papers 2007-01-3169

Development of a Space Suit Soft Upper Torso Mobility/Sizing Actuation System with Focus on Prototype Development and Manned Testing 2007-01-3169

ILC Dover Inc. was awarded a three-year NRA grant for the development of innovative spacesuit pressure garment technology that will enable safer, more reliable, and effective human exploration of the space frontier. The research focused on the development of a high performance mobility/sizing actuation system for a spacesuit soft upper torso (SUT) pressure garment. This technology has application in two areas (1) repositioning the scye bearings to improve specific joint motion i.e. hammering (Figure 1), hand over hand translation (Figure 2), etc., and (2) as a suit sizing mechanism to allow easier suit entry and more accurate suit fit with fewer torso sizes than the existing EMU.
This research was divided into three phases. In phases 1 and 2 SUT actuation technologies were developed and evaluated. In the final phase, which this paper focuses on, a field of previously selected actuation methods was narrowed to one active, pneumatically driven system, and one passive, cable driven system. These systems were developed into fully functioning prototypes which were outfitted to a table top SUT mock-up which was later integrated into a full suit and tested.
Both of these systems were shown to be successful in positioning the SUT shoulder joint interface angles in a designated location and holding there until task completion. The control mechanisms used for both the active and passive system was also modeled and developed. The final phase was concluded by collecting video of a manned demonstration of two of the sizing systems in effect. This paper will summarize the findings of this three year research with emphasis on the details of the final phase.


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