Dual Glovebox Thermal Vacuum Chamber: Testing Capabilities for Spacesuit Arms and Gloves



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2024 International Conference on Environmnetal Systems


The development of Extravehicular Activity (EVA) suits and hand mobility EVA tasks are complex, high risk, and difficult to test in a simulated space environment. During the early assembly of the International Space Station, the Crew and Thermal Systems Division at NASA JSC was tasked to design a chamber that could use two Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) arms in a simulated space environment versus testing with a full suit. The Dual Glove Box (DGB) Chamber was built and served to help develop EVA tools and operations to assist with Return to Flight for the Space Shuttle after the Columbia accident. With the recent development of the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) and new commercial suits through the Extravehicular Activities Services (xEVAS) contract, the DGB can support the need to do suit component testing at thermal extremes and EVA operations without the cost of full suit testing. The DGB can simulate realistic delta pressures, vacuum down to 10^-5 Torr with roughing and cryogenic pumps, and a wide range of shroud temperatures achieved via a combination of Liquid Nitrogen (LN2), conditioned Gaseous Nitrogen (GN2), Infrared (IR) lamps, and heater plates. Recent developmental work has verified operational status of the chamber and expanded the capabilities of the DGB to include thermal contact testing of suit gloves through the development of 2 temperature-controlled grab bars. This paper will discuss the history and capabilities of the DGB, and the chamber's future role in the development of new spacesuit systems.


Kaixin Cui, NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), USA
Siddarth Kanoongo, NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), USA


TVAC, Cryogenics, EVA, Spacesuit, Gloves, Spacewalk, Testing