1991-07-01

Simulation of Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) Self-Rescue 911574

Safety has always been an important issue in the United States space program. One area of particular concern, especially since the Challenger accident, is crew rescue. While much attention has been given to crew rescue during launch and landing, interest in rescuing a stranded EVA crewperson is only beginning to increase now. Although there were orbital EVAs in the Gemini and Apollo programs, they were of short duration, and total excursion ranges were small so reattachment of a safety tether was not required. With maintenance of a piece of real estate as large as space station Freedom, astronauts will have to undo and reattach their tethers to reach remote locations. The increasing number of EVAs in the future also elevates the probability of a tether breaking. A mechanism for recovering from a crew separation needs to be determined to prevent a life being lost on-orbit.

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