Bio-Suit Development: Viable Options for Mechanical Counter Pressure
Human explorers of planetary surfaces would benefit greatly from a spacesuit design that facilitates locomotion. To aid in the development of such an extravehicular activity suit, a design effort incorporating the concept of mechanical counter pressure (MCP) was undertaken. Three-dimensional laser scanning of the human body was used to identify the main effects of knee flexion angle on the size and shape of the leg. This laser scanning quantified the changes in shape that must be supported by an MCP garment and the tension that must be developed to produce even MCP. Evaluation of a hybrid-MCP concept using inextensible materials demonstrated strong agreement between experimental data and a mathematical model with rigid cylinder geometry. Testing of a form-fitting garment on the right lower leg of a subject demonstrated successful pressure production. Further research is required to evaluate how evenly pressure can be distributed using the hybrid-MCP concept.