Evaluating the Effect of Spacesuit Glove Fit on Dexterity and Cognitive Task Performance
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Knowledge gaps exist in how to define optimal spacesuit fit and how to more effectively incorporate these fit parameters into suit design. To date, the relationship between spacesuit fit and operational performance has not been quantified. This work investigates the effects of spacesuit glove fit on performance for dexterous tasks and a simulated lunar lander manual control task with mental workload components. Through these tasks, the hypotheses that static glove fit with increased easement is related to decreased performance on dexterity tasks and cognitive tasks were evaluated. Participants (n = 9) wearing prototype spacesuit gloves similar to the Orion Crew Survival System completed tasks in a glovebox vacuum chamber (4.3 psid). The subject’s prescribed fit within the sizing scheme was determined using their anthropometry. The subjects conducted the tasks in gloves one size below their prescribed fit, their prescribed fit size, and gloves one size larger than their prescribed fit in both pressurized and unpressurized states. To evaluate general dexterity, subjects completed a pegboard task, which required moving and rotating pegs between locations on the board. Dexterity was also measured using a functional tool task where subjects attached and detached an extravehicular activity (EVA) tether hook to fixtures designed to NASA specification. For both dexterity tasks, completion time was recorded. The Draper real-time performance metrics workstation lunar landing simulator was used to assess flight performance and mental workload (through a secondary task response time measure). No consistent significant relationships with respect to glove sizing were found for the dexterity tasks or the the lunar landing simulator task. The results also reaffirmed that pressurized spacesuit gloves lead to decreased dexterity over unpressurized gloves and supported that for the selected dexterity tasks, performance can be maintained between the ungloved and unpressurized gloved conditions.