Engineers have completed a key test in the development of NASA’s next generation spacesuit.
Collins, ILC Dover and Oceaneering are making the next-generation spacesuit for the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Exploration Extravehicular Activity Services (xEVAS), contract.
The next-generation suit is lighter and smaller than NASA’s current spacesuit. Its open architecture design will allow the suit to be easily modified as missions change or technology advances. The company has engaged with current and former astronauts to guide engineering and design choices.
The suit has recently passed the Crew Capability Assessment test, a key step in the design process which involves validating the suit performance in a manufactured zero-gravity environment onboard an aircraft.
During the test a series of demonstrations was performed by former NASA astronauts. The primary objectives of the flight test included the evaluation of the suit’s pressure garment system fit and functionality, the use of International Space Station tools and interfaces, and a performance review of the new Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or EMU, against the current design.
Peggy Guirgis, general manager of space systems for Collins Aerospace said, “The test allowed us to examine specific objectives of the design that can support a broad range of crew member sizes and crew tasks in a controlled environment.”
Rob Reed, president of space and engineered solutions at ILC Dover said, “Our pressure garment design leverages decades of innovation and experience to fit more astronauts than ever before, ensuring the safety and comfort of the next generation of space explorers.
“The successful test signals that we’re one step closer to sustaining human life in space with the most advanced spacesuit yet.”
The xEVAS suit will next be subjected to a thermal vacuum test and an underwater test to be held at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Texas, before a critical design review is done.