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Journal Article

Common Helmet Design for Launch, Entry, & Abort and EVA Activities – A Discussion on the Design and Selection Process of Helmets for Future Manned Flight

Effective helmet performance is a critical component to achieving safe and efficient missions along the entire timeline; from launch and entry events to operations in a micro-gravity environment to exploration of a planetary surface, the helmet system is the capstone of the pressurized space suit assembly. Each phase of a mission requires uncompromising protection in the form of a robust pressure vessel and adequate protection from impact, both interior and exterior, all while remaining relatively comfortable and providing excellent visual interaction with the environment. Historically there have been large voids between these critical characteristics with the primary focus concerning the pressure vessel first and impact protection and crew comfort second. ILC Dover, NASA-JSC, Gentex Corporation, and Hamilton Sundstrand formed an Integrated Product Team (IPT) and conducted a NASA funded study to research and evaluate new concepts in helmet design.
Technical Paper

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

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.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of the Rear Entry I-Suit during Desert RATS Testing

ILC Dover, LP designed and manufactured a rear entry upper torso prototype for the I-Suit advanced spacesuit. In September 2005 ILC Dover participated in the Desert Research and Technology Study (RATS) led by the Advanced Extravehicular Activity (EVA) team from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Johnson Space Center (JSC). Desert RATS is a two-week remote field test at Meteor Crater, Arizona. Team members are from NASA, several universities, and a number of industry partners. These groups come together to gain hands-on experience with advanced spacesuit systems and to develop realistic requirements for future Moon and Mars exploration. Desert RATS gave ILC Dover the opportunity to put the rear entry I-Suit through many rigorous tests. The lessons learned there will be valuable for determining basic requirements for future lunar and Mars missions. Desert RATS utilizes a ‘learn-by-doing’ approach for understanding what future requirements should be developed.
Technical Paper

Morphing Upper Torso: A Novel Concept in EVA Suit Design

The University of Maryland Space Systems Laboratory and ILC Dover LP have developed a novel concept: a soft pressure garment that can be dynamically reconfigured to tailor its shape properties to the wearer and the desired task set. This underlying concept has been applied to the upper torso of a rear entry suit, in which the helmet ring, waist ring and two shoulder rings make up a system of four interconnected parallel manipulators with tensile links. This configuration allows the dynamic control of both the position and orientation of each of the four rings, enabling modification of critical sizing dimensions such as the inter-scye distance, as well as task-specific orientations such as helmet, scye and waist bearing angles. Half-scale and full-scale experimental models as well as an analytical inverse kinematics model were used to examine the interconnectedness of the plates, the role of external forces generated by pressurized fabric, and the controllability of the system.
Technical Paper

Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris Enhancements of Shuttle Extravehicular Mobility Unit Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment

As NASA is preparing to extend man's reach into space, it is expected that astronauts will be required to spend more and more time exposed to the hazards of performing Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA). One of these hazards includes the risk of the space suit bladder being penetrated by hypervelocity micrometeoroid and orbital debris (MMOD) particles. Therefore, it has become increasingly important to investigate new ways to improve the protectiveness of the current Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) against MMOD penetration. ILC Dover conducted a NASA funded study into identifying methods of improving the current EMU protection. The first part of this evaluation focused on identifying how to increase the EMU shielding, selecting materials to accomplish this, and testing these materials to determine the best lay-up combinations to integrate into the current thermal micrometeoroid garment (TMG) design.
Technical Paper

Rapid Microbial Analysis during Simulated Surface EVA at Meteor Crater: Implications for Human Exploration of the Moon and Mars

Procedures for rapid microbiological analysis were performed during simulated surface extra-vehicular activity (EVA) at Meteor Crater, Arizona. The fully suited operator swabbed rock (‘unknown’ sample), spacesuit glove (contamination control) and air (negative control). Each swab sample was analyzed for lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and β-1, 3-glucan within 10 minutes by the handheld LOCAD PTS instrument, scheduled for flight to ISS on space shuttle STS-116. This simulated a rapid and preliminary ‘life detection’ test (with contamination control) that a human could perform on Mars. Eight techniques were also evaluated for their ability to clean and remove LPS and β-1, 3-glucan from five surface materials of the EVA Mobility Unit (EMU). While chemical/mechanical techniques were effective at cleaning smooth surfaces (e.g. RTV silicon), they were less so with porous fabrics (e.g. TMG gauntlet).
Technical Paper

Phase VI Glove TMG Evolution

As Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) is becoming more challenging and a renewed interest into planetary exploration is being pursued, having a spacesuit glove that is able to perform more complex and dexterous tasks with less hand fatigue is critical. In an effort to build upon an already proven foundation a new investigation has been made into reducing the torque of the Phase VI Glove Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment (TMG) along with improving dexterity and tactility. This paper addresses the makeup of the Phase VI Glove TMG and details the investigation into improving the current design. An investigation into alternative heating methods was also pursued.
Technical Paper

I-Suit Advanced Spacesuit Design Improvements and Performance Testing

The I-Suit has been tested in varying environments at Johnson Space Center (JSC). This includes laboratory mobility testing, KC-135 partial gravity flights, and remote field testing in the Mojave Desert. The experience gained from this testing has provided insight for design improvements. These improvements have been an evolutionary process since 1998 to the present. The design improvements affect existing suit components and introduce new components for systems processing and human/robotic interface. Examples of these design improvements include improved mobility joints, a new helmet with integrated communications and displays capability, and integration of textile switches for control of suit functions and tele-robotic operations. This paper addresses an overview of I-Suit design improvements and results of manned and unmanned performance tests.
Technical Paper

Phase VI Advanced EVA Glove Development and Certification for the International Space Station

Since the early 1980’s, the Shuttle Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) glove design has evolved to meet the challenge of space based tasks. These tasks have typically been satellite retrieval and repair or EVA based flight experiments. With the start of the International Space Station (ISS) assembly, the number of EVA based missions is increasing far beyond what has been required in the past; this has commonly been referred to as the “Wall of EVA’s”. To meet this challenge, it was determined that the evolution of the current glove design would not meet future mission objectives. Instead, a revolution in glove design was needed to create a high performance tool that would effectively increase crewmember mission efficiency. The results of this effort have led to the design, certification and implementation of the Phase VI EVA glove into the Shuttle flight program.
Technical Paper

Performance Evaluations of an Advanced Space Suit Design for International Space Station and Planetary Applications

Experience with the Space Shuttle Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) and A7LB spacesuits has shown the need to investigate new spacesuit technologies for future missions requiring highly mobile, light weight and lower cost Extravehicular Activity spacesuit alternatives. An experimental spacesuit designated the I-Suit was developed to show the feasibility of attaining all three major design goals. The I-Suit is a highly mobile, multi-bearing, all soft fabric, prototype full pressure suit designed to operate effectively in zero gravity as well as in planetary applications. The I-Suit was designed with several fixed design requirements and a long list of goals. Once the prototype suit was fabricated, laboratory environment testing was performed in order to compare the I-Suit to the Shuttle EMU spacesuit and the Apollo A7LB spacesuit.
Technical Paper

Recent Advances in the Development of Spacesuit Gloves

The continuous development of Extravehicular Activity (EVA) spacesuit gloves has lead to an effective solution for performing EVA to date. Some aspects of the current EVA gloves have been noted to affect crew performance in the form of limited dexterity and accelerated onset of fatigue from high torque mobility joints. This in conjunction with the fact that more frequent and complex EVAs will occur with the fabrication and occupation of Space Station Freedom, suggest the need for improved spacesuit gloves. Therefore, several efforts have been conducted in the recent past to enhance the performance of the spacesuit glove. The following is a description of the work performed in these programs and their impact on the design and performance of EVA equipment. In the late 1980's and early 1990's, a spacesuit glove design was developed that focused on building a more conformal glove with improved mobility joints that could function well at a higher operating pressure.
Technical Paper

Shuttle Space Suit Glove Thermal Protection and Performance Improvement Evolution

The success of astronauts performing Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) is highly dependent on the performance capabilities of their spacesuit gloves. Thermal protection of crewmember's hands has always been a critical concern but has recently become more important because of the increasing role of the crewmember in the manipulation of objects in the environment of space. The utilization of EVA for challenging missions, such as the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) repair and Space Station assembly missions, has prompted the need for improved glove thermal protection. The increased manipulation of hot and cold objects is necessary to complete these complex missions. Thermal protection of the spacesuit glove is accomplished by the Thermal and Micrometeoroid Garment (TMG). The TMG is a multilayered cover that fits over the restraint layer of the spacesuit glove. The TMG is engineered to provide thermal protection for crewmember's hands as well as for the glove bladder and restraint.