Bioastronautics: EVA Spacesuit Evaluation

What is Bioastronautics?

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.

About the FFD EVA Space Suit

Final Frontier Design (FFD) was founded in 2010 in Brooklyn, NY with the intent to “craft affordable yet highly capable space suits for a burgeoning commercial space flight industry.” In 2015, Final Frontier Design won a Space Act agreement with NASA and is now developing broader spacesuit technologies. In 2019, FFD developed a prototype commercial Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) space suit which can be donned and pressurized for orbital or surface EVA. It is now in the process of certification according to the NASA flight certification standards. Project PoSSUM continues to work with FFD by engaging citizen-scientists with the technology maturation process of FFD space suits.

PoSSUM's 'Team Voskhod' gathers for mission briefing by test director Dr. Armin Kleinboehl. the EVA space suit will be evaluated by PoSSUM scientist-astronaut candidate Kyle Foster in surface conditions under lunar gravity and in simulated microgravity conditions.

About PoSSUM’s Gravity-Offset Laboratory

Together with Kansas State University, Project PoSSUM has developed a gravity-offset laboratory at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) headquarters in Montreal, Quebec. The PoSSUM system is a two-axis system that is actively controlled like NASA’s ARGOS system. It combines a hoist with active force control for vertical gravity-offset (Kansas State’s MoRGS unit developed by Timothy Mourlam) and a ‘frictionless’ air-bearing axis for horizontal motion as part of a larger structure developed by PoSSUM’s engineering team. The system is designed to be used in terrestrial environments with human test subjects for the simulation of partial gravity or zero gravity environments. Together with the CSA, PoSSUM scientist-astronaut candidates evaluate EVA space suit prototypes in Martian, Lunar, and zero-g conditions while being harnessed to the hoist. The laboratory uses CSA’s lunar test yard for surface EVA simulations and PoSSUM’s Quest Airlock mock-up to support orbital (microgravity) simulation.

Nadia Gravity Offset
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Kansas Stte University

EVA Spacesuit Evaluation Research

OTTER scientist-astronaut candidates take lessons-learned from operational space medicine and planetary field geology reserach activities and re-create the tools and procedures at our gravity-offset laboratory located at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters in Montreal. Here, EVA space suit protypes may be evaluated in a controlled environment. OTTER’s gravity-offset system is a two-axis system that may simulate any gravity level between 1-0G including lunar and Martian gravity levels.

2019: Phase One Lunar-Gravity Test Objectives

1) Walking under lunar gravity,

2) geological tool evaluations in lunar gravity (hammer, shovel, soil sampler, rock hardness tool),

3) remote drone operations in lunar gravity,

4) LiDAR system evaluation in lunar gravity.

Lunar EVA hammer test
Lunar gravity soil scoop test
2019: Phase One MicroGravity Test Objectives

1) Fluid line connection in microgravity

2) electrical line connection in microgravity,

3) drill use in microgravity.

The Project OTTER EVA 104 program is held at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters in Montreal, Quebec.

microgravity evaluations on Quest Airlock connectors
PoSSUM scientist-astronaut candidate tests EVA space suit in simulated zero-G conditions.

Learning to walk on the moon using the OTTER gravity-offset laboratory at the Canadian Space Agency

Testing microgravity procedures on the Quest Airlock mockup using the OTTER gravity-offset laboratory at the Canadian Space Agency