Spacesuit Range of Motion Investigations Using Video and Motion Capture Systems at Spaceflight Analogue Expeditions and within the ERAU S.U.I.T. Lab
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The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) Spacesuit Utilization of Innovative Technology Laboratory (S.U.I.T. Lab) is dedicated to the pursuit of advancing human spaceflight by contributing to spacesuit and operations research with experiential programs for students. A significant portion of the S.U.I.T. Lab’s portfolio is dedicated to the design and execution of spacesuit range of motion (ROM) investigations using video and motion capture systems. ROM biomechanical angles were measured using these techniques in conjunction with developing protocols for both simulated extravehicular activity suits at spaceflight analogue expeditions, and on ERAU campus with Final Frontier Design (FFD) intravehicular activity pressure suits. Designing protocols ensures effective communication for the analysis of simulated spacesuit performance to a remote crew. With communication delays to Earth, a self-sufficient spacesuit diagnosis is required to provide future astronauts with immediate action to take when dealing with a malfunctioning spacesuit. The video capture methodology is designed so that any crew would be able to conduct recordings with minimal impact to their schedule and with camera resources that are standard equipment. Spaceflight mission analogues involved in this study include: Hawai'i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS Mission V, 2017); Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS Crew 188, 2018), and AMADEE-18 in Oman (2018). Video capture can be used to collaborate with several spacesuit manufacturers to offer a snapshot comparison between designs, validate and verify capabilities, and aid with the selection of the right suit for the right job. The analogue locations recorded unsuited and suited data, while the November FFD test focused on motion capture (with video capture taken for validation) of unsuited, suited unpressurized, and suited while pressurized to 3.5 psid conditions. Early results from the motion capture align with values estimated from video capture and future work will compare the accuracy of these techniques.