The Effects of Arcing Ejecta on Space Suit Materials from ISS RPCM Hot Mate/Demate During EVA



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50th International Conference on Environmental Systems


Onboard ISS, taking systems off-line when powering down to perform servicing on Remote Power Control Modules (RPCMs) introduces operational risk. An investigation lead by the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) was performed by a multi-center team to assess the safety of performing on-orbit replacement of RPCMs without powering down. This investigation revealed the potential for molten metal particulate generation in the event of an arcing occurrence. As RPCM replacement can be performed outside ISS during an Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA), it is necessary to assess the effects of this molten metal ejecta contact with the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Space Suit Assembly (SSA) during an arcing event. A test was devised to mimic arcing ejecta contact with samples representing various SSA cross-sections. Four areas of the SSA were chosen for test to represent the majority of the SSA cross-sections. Testing was conducted by the University of California, Riverside that generated the molten metal particles, included varying composition, size and temperature, and dropped them onto the surface of the various SSA cross-sections. Exposed SSA materials were then evaluated for degree of damage, penetration and thermal conductance through the cross-section by ILC Dover. Results showed that the SSA Glove is most susceptible to damage from arcing events. This data will be used to make risk management decisions for future RPCM servicing operations. This testing also demonstrated the durability of the SSA design and materials to exposure to extreme environments.


Linda Hewes, ILC Dover LP
Amri Hernandez-Pellerano, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Reza Abbaschian, University of California Riverside
Nicholas Derimow, University of California Riverside
Mallory Jennings, NASA Johnson Space Center
Stacie Cox, NASA Johnson Space Center
Scott West, NASA Johnson Space Center
Richard Russell, NASA Kennedy Space Center
ICES400: Extravehicular Activity: Space Suits
The 50th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held virtually on 12 July 2021 through 14 July 2021.


Space Suits, Molten metal, SSA, EMU, Remote Powered Control Module, RPCM, Extra-vehicular Activity, EVA, arcing ejecta, Levitation Test