Development of a Thermal Control Coating for Space Suits 871474
Past space suits and the current Shuttle suit, which are constructed primarily from fabric, use the Integrated Thermal and Micrometcoroid Garment, which insulates the astronaut from his environment. The new generation of hard suits affords designers the opportunity to incorporate thermal control into the suit structure. Environmental influence on the suit temperature and heat flux can then he minimized with a high reflectance coating. Candidate coatings have been identified and ranked on the basis of thermophysical properties; wear, corrosion and atomic oxygen degradation resistance; and coating process and cost. Laboratory determination of properties, thermal cycling and wear resistance tests are underway to identify the optimum coating. A computer model is being developed to evaluate various environmental configurations. Preliminary results are presented here.