Carbon Dioxide Washout Testing Using Various Inlet Vent Configurations in the Mark-III Space Suit



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44th International Conference on Environmental Systems


Requirements for using a space suit during ground testing include providing adequate carbon dioxide (CO2) washout for the suited subject. Acute CO2 exposure can lead to symptoms including headache, dyspnea, lethargy, and eventually unconsciousness or even death. Symptoms depend on several factors including inspired partial pressure of CO2 (ppCO2), duration of exposure, metabolic rate of the subject, and physiological differences between subjects. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis has predicted that the configuration of the suit inlet vent has a significant effect on oronasal CO2 concentrations. The main objective of this test was to characterize inspired oronasal ppCO2 for a variety of inlet vent configurations in the Mark-III suit across a range of workload and flow rates. Data and trends observed during testing along with refined CFD models will be used to help design an inlet vent configuration for the Z-2 space suit. The testing methodology used in this test builds upon past CO2 washout testing performed on the Z-1 suit, Rear Entry I-Suit, and the Enhanced Mobility Advanced Crew Escape Suit. Three subjects performed two test sessions each in the Mark-III suit to allow for comparison between tests. Six different helmet inlet vent configurations were evaluated during each test session. Suit pressure was maintained at 4.3 psid. Suited test subjects walked on a treadmill to generate metabolic workloads of approximately 2000 and 3000 BTU/hr. Supply airflow rates of 6 and 4 actual cubic feet per minute were tested at each workload. Subjects wore an oronasal mask with an open port in front of the mouth and were allowed to breathe freely. Oronasal ppCO2 was monitored real-time via gas analyzers with sampling tubes connected to the oronasal mask. Metabolic rate was calculated from the CO2 production measured by an additional gas analyzer at the air outlet from the suit. Real-time metabolic rate measurements were used to adjust the treadmill workload to meet target metabolic rates. This paper provides detailed descriptions of the test hardware, methodology and results, as well as implications for future inlet vent designs and ground testing.


The 44th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Tuscon, Arizona, USA on 13 July 2014 through 17 July 2014.
F. Adam Korona, Jacobs, USA
Jason Norcross, Wyle, USA
Bruce Conger, Alliant Techsystems Inc., USA
Moses Navarro, NASA Johnson Space Center, USA