1993-07-01

Development of a Fabric for the External Protection of a Space Suit 932101

During Extravehicular Activities (EVA) an astronaut has to be protected against various external factors ranging from mechanical hazards to solar radiation and micrometeoroids.
An important element in this external protection is the outermost fabric layer. It has to ensure the mechanical protection of the pressure retention bladder and at the same time - by its thermooptical properties - plays an important role in the thermal control of the space suit.
New weaving and knitting technologies enable the fabrication of so-called 3-D fabrics with interconnected layers and local variation of properties in one manufacturing step. By this a tailored design of protection properties is possible.
A study has been performed to define concepts adapted for use on a European Space Suit. Different fabric samples were manufactured and tested, amongst others, for strength, flexibility, puncture and wear resistance, UV stability, flammability, out/offgassing and micrometeoroid protection effctiveness.
The present paper will describe the different fabric concepts and their corresponding property profiles, including coating systems for the fabric surfaces.
Test results will be presented.

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