Further Development and Testing of a Commercial Intra-Vehicular Activity Space Suit
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Final Frontier Design (FFD) has continued development and testing of their Intra-Vehicular Activity (IVA) space suit. Multiple hardware elements of the suit and associated system have been developed and refined. An Additive Manufactured (AM) Automatic Pressure Regulation System (APReS) has been designed, built, and tested; prior suit designs utilized a manual pressure regulator, whereas the APReS is intended to operate automatically to maintain suit pressure in case of a depressurize scenario. A Digital Gauge Platform (DGP) has been designed and integrated to measure pressure, temperature, humidity, and accelerometer data. The DGP operates wirelessly and redundantly with visualization and interface capable via multiple platforms including smartphones and laptop computers. The suit’s helmet ring design has been further optimized for AM, to reduce mass and likelihood of warping during the AM process. Glove closures have been optimized to reduce the likelihood of a false lock and ease of attachment. In partnership with Integrated Spaceflight Services (ISS), a custom built seat has been designed, built, qualified, and tested in microgravity flight, with the IVA suit. FFD and ISS flew a series of 3 microgravity flights with the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, with an unpressurized, suited subject and critical systems integration, including pressurization, communications, seat/restraint, sensors, and seat in flight. A human testing review board approved the flights to collect biometric data on the suited subjects. Important data on suit performance and systems functionality in microgravity were collected. FFD and ISS have performed further ground based training, including fitting and pressurizing more than 30 people in the suit and refining fit and training procedures in the process. A human rating program for the ISS suit has been refined, and baseline requirements for the suit have been developed and reviewed.