Conceptual Design for the Advancement of Mechanical Counterpressure Spacesuits



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2023 International Conference on Environmental Systems


With expected increased demand for extravehicular activity in future exploration missions, the superficially simple nature of mechanical counterpressure (MCP) spacesuits holds significant appeal while promising numerous advantages. While traditional gas-pressurized suits have proven reliable for many decades, MCP’s skin-tight garments have the potential to offer significant improvements in mobility, dexterity, level of exertion and safety. Numerous unsolved design challenges exist which have prevented the adoption of this technology. This paper discusses work undertaken towards engineering solutions for some of these issues, prioritizing the demonstration of viability in experimental conditions. By considering mechanical components rather than material properties, this project investigates a way to achieve the generation of the large tensions required for a functional MCP suit. The concepts are examined in the context of comfort and donning speed for such a spacesuit. Garment adjustability is also considered to address concerns surrounding changes to body shape during long-duration missions, as well as providing better performance and reduced production costs.


Michelle Kostin, Imperial College London, United Kingdom
ICES407: Extravehicular Activity: Emerging Space Suit Technologies
The 52nd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Calgary, Canada, on 16 July 2023 through 20 July 2023.


Spacesuit, Extravehicular activity, Mechanical counter-pressure, Design