Continued Development and Validation of the Virtual Spacesuit Using Apollo 17 Data

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2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems

This paper documents the continued development and further validation of a spacesuit simulation system called the Virtual Spacesuit (V-SUIT). V-SUIT is a MATLAB® application that combines models of a spacesuit pressure garment, portable life support system and a comprehensive human model, with a dynamic thermal simulation of the environment on an airless planetary surface like the Moon. This holistic approach enables V-SUIT to depict the complex interactions between spacesuit, human and the environment in different domains. In a first validation step, the second extravehicular activity (EVA) of the Apollo 15 mission was recreated in V-SUIT and the simulation results were compared to original flight data, which was provided by NASA’s Spacesuit Knowledge Capture Program. This validation demonstrated that V-SUIT is capable of depicting the dynamic behavior of all components involved. It also uncovered shortcomings in the models and the underlying simulation system architecture, for example the inadequacy of the gas flow rate solver. This paper presents how these shortcomings were addressed and simulation results of the updated system presented. Since the models were created using the Apollo 15 data as a guideline, it needed to be proven that the models are indeed generic and not custom-tailored to that specific EVA. The simulation system was therefore used to re-create the second EVA from the Apollo 17 mission, which used the same model of spacesuit, but with a different astronaut at a different location on the lunar surface. The validation data was again provided by the Spacesuit Knowledge Capture Program. It is discussed how well V-SUIT is able to predict the dynamic behavior of the spacesuit and which areas of future work can be derived from the results.

Claas Olthoff, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), US
ICES401: Extravehicular Activity: Systems
The proceedings for the 2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems were published from July 31, 2020. The technical papers were not presented in person due to the inability to hold the event as scheduled in Lisbon, Portugal because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Spacesuit, Portable life support system, Dynamic simulation, Apollo