Bioastronautics is the study associated with the support of life in space, including the design of payloads, space habitats, and life support systems. Project PoSSUM works with Final Frontier Design to test and evaluate commercial spacesuits and their operability within analog environments.
Project PoSSUM conducts citizen-science bioastronautics research including evaluations of Final Frontier Design spacesuits and associated technologies developed within the program. Project PoSSUM members work exclusively with Integrated Spaceflight Services to evaluate Final Frontier IVA Spacesuits through a multi-year research and evaluation program to evaluate spacesuit functionality, operational envelope, prototype suit/seat interface, seat ingress and egress operations, interface with biometric monitoring and communications systems, and CO2 washout tests.
Final Frontier Design was founded in 2010 in Brooklyn, NY with the intent to “craft affordable yet highly capable spacesuits for a burgeoning commercial spaceflight industry.” Final Frontier has developed a commercial Intra-Vehicular Activity suit (IVA) which can be pressurized in the event of an emergency, and is now in the process of certification according to the NASA flight certification standards. In 2015, Final Frontier Design won a Space Act agreement with NASA and is now developing broader spacesuit technologies. Project PoSSUM continues to work with Final Frontier Design by engaging citizen-scientists with the technology maturation process of Final Frontier Design spacesuits.
PoSSUM’s Spacesuit Evaluation Program has been co-developed by Project PoSSUM, Integrated Spaceflight Services, Final Frontier Design, the National Research Council, the Southern Aeromedical Institute, and Survival Systems USA. We publish citizen-science and publicly-funded research on microgravity, high-altitude, high-G, and post-landing operations of intra-vehicular spacesuits. Following microgravity evaluations of Final Frontier spacesuits and assocaited PoSSUM technologies, suborbital flights will be conducted on Blue Origin and/or Virgin Galactic suborbital vehicles.
Phase One microgravity tests, conducted in October 2015, performed the following tests:
Continuing high-altitude chamber testing evaluate:
High-G tests evaluate:
Phase Two microgravity testing, conducted in November 2016, evaluated:
PoSSUM is involved in a variety of research with Embry-Riddle, including aerospace physiology and human performance research involving PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Candidates. These tests are designed to study the diversity of physiological and psychological responses to spaceflight analog conditions.
Flight research involving Final Frontier Design spacesuits and associated PoSSUM technologies have been conducted on research aircraft. These tests help assess the functionality of the suit in an operational environment similar to that of a spacecraft. PoSSUM’s Mooney M20K aircraft is used here to demonstrate flight procedures using a suited pilot.
Project PoSSUM and Survival Systems USA have jointly developed a program that provides analog environments to the landing and post-landing phase of manned space missions, coupled with an educational program designed exclusively for PoSSUM graduates. PoSSUM graduates that complete the ‘Spacecraft Egress and Rescue Operations’ course are eligible to test spacesuits in various landing and post-landing scenarios. Assisted and unassisted egress procedures are tested in varying sea and lighting conditions in safe, controlled environments. Both parachute water entry and capsule egress procedures are simulated.