Heat Balance Model to Inform Requirements for Martian Spacesuit Architectures



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2023 International Conference on Environmental Systems


Limitations of our current spacesuits may pose operational challenges during Martian surface exploration. Alternative pressure systems, such as mechanical counter pressure (MCP), may provide potential advantages to overcome these limitations, but development and demonstrated capability is lacking. Progress has been stalled in the development of novel spacesuit architectures due to a lack of informed design requirements. It has been identified that research in the field of thermoregulation and heat transfer for MCP is a critical stepping stone in the road map to making MCP a feasible technology for spaceflight. Thermal modeling has been an effective method to analyze designs for gas pressures (GP) spacesuits in the past as well as used in other high performance safety industries. Past research has explored alternative heat rejection technologies and material layups for exploration thermal systems, but do to not considering sex, body segmentation, and garment architectures. In addition, some thermal modeling has used software which is not readily accessible. Improving the fidelity of human thermal models allows for rapid development and comparison of thermal requirements across alternatives spacesuits such as MCP. In this research, thermal models are developed to analyze novel spacesuits and evaluate the effects of architecture and thermal properties on local skin temperature of a female simulated astronaut. Models evaluated hot and cold conditions of a Martian day in the summer and winter for the constant metabolic rate of 400 W. This work builds on past research by adding gender and body segmentation, increasing the model fidelity and allowing for both segmented and layered spacesuit architectures evaluation. Future results can be used to inform designs and develop requirements for life support systems that can be tailored to operational tasks, environment, and gender specific considerations to minimize consumables as well as provide a comfortable environment for our future astronauts.


Gabriella Schauss, University of Colorado Boulder, USA
Allison Anderson, University of Colorado Boulder, USA


Thermal subsystem, alternative spacesuit concepts, surface exploration, mechanical counter pressure