Performance Evaluation of Candidate Space Suit Elements for the Next Generation Orbital EMU 921344
The projections of increased Extravehicular Activity (EVA) operations for the Space Station Freedom (SSF) resulted in the development of advanced space suit technologies to increase EVA efficiency. To eliminate the overhead of denitrogenation, candidate higher-operating pressure suit technologies were developed. The AX-5 all metallic, multi-bearing technologies were developed at the Ames Research Center, and the Mk. III fabric and metallic technologies were developed at the Johnson Space Center.
Following initial technology development, extensive tests and analyses were performed to evaluate all aspects of candidate technology performance. The current Space Shuttle space suit technologies were used as a baseline for evaluating those of the AX-5 and Mk. III. Tests included manned evaluations in the Weightless Environment Training Facility and KC-135 zero-gravity aircraft. Unmanned tests and analyses were also conducted to measure joint torque, range, cycle life, and environmental protection characteristics. Data included both numerical results and test subject comments on performance.
While the SSF Program has decided to utilize the Space Shuttle space suit for the foreseeable future, the results of this program will provide valuable information for future on-orbit EVA suit applications. This paper presents the candidate suit technologies and discusses the methods that were applied to evaluate their performance. Processes used to evaluate the data, and results of this study are also presented.