Evaluation of a Rear Entry System for an Advanced Spacesuit
The success of astronauts in performing Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) is highly dependent on the performance of the spacesuit they are wearing. The Space Shuttle Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) is a waist entry suit consisting of a hard upper torso (HUT) and soft fabric mobility joints. The EMU was designed specifically for zero gravity operations. With a new emphasis on planetary exploration, a new EVA spacesuit design is required. One of the key features of any space suit is the entry method. Historical examples of different entry types include waist entry, rear entry, bi-planar entry, and soft zipper type entry. Suit entry type plays a critical role in defining the overall suit architecture. Some of the critical suit features affected by entry type are suit don/doff capability, suit sizing, suit mass, suit volume, and suit comfort. In general, rear entry designs provide better don/doff capabilities.