Task Space Suit Simulator (S3) for Partial Gravity EVA Experimentation and Testing (Completed)
Last Published:  11/23/20 11:55:12 AM (Central)
Short Title: Space Suit Simulator
Responsible HRP Element: Human Health Countermeasures
Collaborating Org(s):
Funding Status: Completed - Task completed and produced a deliverable
Procurement Mechanism(s):

Pressurized space suits impose high joint torques on the wearer, reducing mobility for upper and lower body motions.  Because of the highly altered mobility capabilities and metabolic cost of movement when wearing a space suit, it is necessary for suits to be worn during many aspects of astronaut training and land-based research.  Using actual space suits outside of underwater neutral buoyancy environments is problematic due to the expense, bulk, weight, and difficulty in donning/doffing.  The goal of this project is to demonstrate a novel method for simulating space suit joint torques, which are non-linear and vary with angular position.  This novel method will allow for development of a full space suit simulator for land-based applications, which mimics the joint torques and resulting reduced mobility to a high level of fidelity, while offering characteristics of lighter weight, lower profile, and portability. 

Aurora Flight Sciences, together with the MIT Man-Vehicle Laboratory, are developing a wearable space suit simulator that imitates the mechanical properties of the current EVA space suit (the Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or EMU) and can be used in microgravity or partial gravity EVA experimentation and training.  The space suit simulator will include the following features:

  • Quantifiable joint torque stiffness, which can be tuned to provide the capability for simulating current and future space suit designs
  • Lightweight, novel joint design to reduce the bulkiness of the suit simulator, and allow it to be donned and doffed within the time required to set up other simulation activities (approximately 15 minutes) in a vertical or horizontal orientation
  • Adjustable sizing for subjects of different heights and weights
  • Comfortable fit and performance for partial gravity simulation exercises of up to four hours

This space suit simulator is appropriate for the requirements of future microgravity and planetary EVA experimentation, training, and simulation. 

Integration/Unique Aspects: TBD

Resources (None Listed)