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  Artemis Exploration EMU (xEMU) spacesuit

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Author Topic:   Artemis Exploration EMU (xEMU) spacesuit
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 42988
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-04-2019 02:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Seeks Industry Input on Hardware Production for Lunar Spacesuit

When the first woman and next man step foot on the Moon in 2024, they will be wearing the next generation of spacesuits designed to give astronauts enhanced mobility to accomplish their exploration tasks on the lunar surface. NASA is currently designing and developing a new spacesuit system, called the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit or xEMU, for use during Artemis missions at the Moon and adaptable for other destinations near and far.

In a request for information (RFI) published on Oct.4 2019, NASA is seeking Industry feedback to help refine and mature the acquisition strategy for production and services for lunar spacesuits to enable a steady cadence of Artemis missions over the next decade and beyond. The agency is prepared to build and certify the initial spacesuits to support a demonstration in a spaceflight environment on the International Space Station in 2023 and the first trip to the lunar surface in 2024, as part of the Artemis III mission. After Artemis III, NASA plans to transition responsibility for production, assembly, testing, sustaining and maintenance of a fleet of flight and training spacesuits and associated hardware to U.S. Industry.

Building on lessons learned from 50 years of American spacewalks, NASA, with the support of industry and academia, has designed and developed new technologies and systems to support a flexible exploration spacesuit architecture that will enable missions to multiple destinations. The new exploration suit can be used in spacewalks that may vary with dust, thermal conditions, operational requirements such as walking, driving rovers, or collecting samples, or gravity. The multi-destination design also means the suits could be used for spacewalks on the space station, or at Gateway if needed, and future missions to Mars can build on the core suit technologies with additional upgrades for use in the Martian atmosphere and greater gravity.

Several new design features on the new exploration suit will accommodate a broader range of crew sizes and improve fit, comfort, and astronaut mobility for tasks on the lunar surface. Improvements include a highly mobile lower torso for walking and kneeling as well as an upgradable life support system that allows components to be swapped out as technologies mature or mission parameters change without having to redesign the entire suit. Additionally, the life support system incorporates many new technological innovations to improve overall reliability, safety and performance.

"You won't see the bunny hopping and falls like those seen in the Apollo videos, because we've added bearings and new soft elements to help the suit move smoothly with the wearer," said Marshall Smith, director of the Human Lunar Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "With the improvements to the suits for Artemis missions, astronauts can now open up new possibilities for science and exploration at the Moon."

In addition to production of the spacesuits, NASA would like industry feedback on how the contractor would facilitate the evolution of the suits and recommend improvements to the agency's initial design. The agency is also asking for information on production and sustaining of toolkits astronauts will use during lunar spacewalks, crew-aids and vehicle integration hardware needed to support unique operations and interfaces associated with missions to Gateway and the lunar surface.

"With the help of partners from industry and academia, we have developed a suite of advanced spacesuit components in preparation for missions to distant destinations," said Smith. "Now we will take the next step together in the boots of the new exploration suit for Artemis missions at the Moon."

NASA is also interested in industry input on lowering barriers to commercialization of the exploration suits and associated tools, interfaces, and other components. This includes inputs on how future spacesuit production teams might be able to provide suit and spacewalk capabilities to non-NASA customers.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 42988
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-10-2019 04:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
A Next Generation Spacesuit for the Artemis Generation of Astronauts

At first glance, NASA’s new spacesuit that will be worn on Artemis missions might look like the suits that astronauts use for spacewalks outside the International Space Station today. However, 21st century moonwalkers will be able to accomplish much more complex tasks than their predecessors, thanks to strides in technological advances that started even before the Apollo program.

Spacesuits are not only a classic icon of human space exploration, they are also a personalized spaceship that mimics all of the protections from the harsh environment of space and the basic resources that Earth and its atmosphere provide.

The new suit that will be worn on Artemis missions is called the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or xEMU for short. Its history is a tale of engineering evolution, traced all the way back to the Mercury space suits that were, themselves, upgraded Navy high-altitude flight suits. Here’s a rundown of the 21st century upgrades for the suit that the next moonwalkers will wear on Artemis missions:

Safety First

Safety is always the top priority for human missions, and thanks to the Apollo explorers and more recent robotic missions, we know more about the lunar environment now than ever before. Until Apollo 11, the greatest concern with the lunar soil was that it wouldn’t support the weight of a lander or the astronauts inside. Now we know that the greater danger is that the soil is composed of tiny glass-like shards, so the new suit has a suite of dust-tolerant features to prevent inhalation or contamination of the suit’s life support system or other spacecraft. The suit also is built to withstand temperature extremes of minus 250 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade and up to 250 degrees in the sun.

The Portable Life Support System is the familiar backpack astronauts wear on spacewalks that houses the suit’s power and breathable air and removes exhaled carbon dioxide and other toxic gasses, odors and moisture from the suit. It also helps regulate temperature and monitors overall suit performance, emitting warnings if resources fall low, or if there is a system failure. Miniaturization of electronics and plumbing systems have made it possible to build in duplicates for much of the system, making some failures less of a concern. The duplication also increases safety and could increase spacewalk durations.

Advanced Mobility and Communications

Artemis astronauts will be more nimble than ever before with mobility enhancements in the new suits. Bunny-hopping Apollo astronauts are fun to watch, but the exertion required to move around that way was more than NASA would have liked for their explorers who were 250,000 miles from home. The pressure garment is the human shaped portion of the spacesuit that enables astronaut mobility and protects their body from the external environment including, extreme temperatures, radiation, micrometeoroids, and reduced atmospheric pressure. The primary components of the pressure garment are the upper torso, helmet, lower torso and cooling garment.

The new lower torso includes advanced materials and joint bearings that allow bending and rotating at the hips, increased bending at the knees, and hiking-style boots with flexible soles. On the upper torso, In addition to the updated shoulder placement, other shoulder enhancements allow astronauts to move their arms more freely and easily lift objects over their heads or reach across their body in the pressurized suit. Apollo shoulder mobility was enabled by pleats in the fabric with cable pulleys that provided mechanical advantage to move the shoulders up and down but limited the ability to rotate the joint. The new shoulders minimize the effort required for full mobility and include bearings that allow full rotation of the arm from shoulder to wrist.

Inside the helmet, NASA has redesigned the communications system. The headsets, sometimes referred to as the “snoopy caps,” on the suits in use today can become sweaty and uncomfortable inside the helmet, and the microphone doesn’t always track well with the astronaut’s movements. The new audio system includes multiple, embedded, voice-activated microphones inside the upper torso that automatically pick up the astronaut’s voice when they speak to their fellow spacewalker, their crewmates aboard the Gateway, or mission control in Houston. So, no more snoopy cap for our Lunar explorers!

Astronauts will still wear a diaper-like garment during spacewalks that is a combination of commercial products stitched together for maximum absorption. Although space explorers generally prefer to not use it, it is there in the event they need to relieve themselves during a spacewalk that can last many hours.

Modular and Evolvable for Multiple Destinations

The new suit is designed with interchangeable parts that can be configured for spacewalks in microgravity or on a planetary surface. The same core system could be used for the International Space Station, the Gateway in lunar orbit, the Moon, or Mars. The suit could be upgraded for the differences in the Martian environment, including additional technology for life support functionality in the carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere and modified outer garments to keep crew warm in the Mars winter and prevent over heating in the summer season.

A new feature on the improved suit design is the rear-entry hatch. Astronauts will be able to climb into a spacesuit from the back of the suit, which allows the shoulder elements of the hard upper torso to be closer together than the suits currently in use. The improved shoulder placement increases mobility and enables a better fi­t while also reducing the risk of shoulder injuries.

The lower torso, which includes the pants and boots, will be modified from the current suit to accommodate mobility in partial gravity, because astronauts floating in space don’t need to use their legs or feet nearly as much as those walking or driving a rover on a planetary surface.

The helmet on the suits for Artemis missions will also feature a quick-swap protective visor. The clear protective visor is a sacrifi­cial shield that protects the pressurized bubble from any wear and tear or dents and scratches from the abrasive dirt of planetary bodies. The quick-swap function means that astronauts can replace the visor before or after a spacewalk instead of sending an entire helmet back to Earth for repairs.

Custom Fit via Anthropometry and Biomechanics

In the Anthropometry and Biomechanics Facility at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, astronauts undergo full-body, 3D scans while performing basic motions and postures expected during spacewalks. With a complete 3D animated model, NASA can match the astronaut to the modular space suit components that will provide the most comfort and the broadest range of motion, while reducing the potential for skin irritation where the suit might press on the body.

The Space Suit Path to the Lunar South Pole

Space travel is not for the meek. Regardless of the leaps in space suit advancements, astronauts still must conduct complex science and operational activates while wearing their own personal spacecraft. Practicing on Earth helps, but the difference in gravity, pressure and environmental exposure is difficult to truly replicate on the ground.

Before the first woman and next man take step on the lunar South Pole in 2024, NASA will test the new suits and several of its components on the International Space Station in a spaceflight environment to confirm the overall performance.

NASA is prepared to build and certify the initial spacesuits for the first trip to the lunar surface in 2024, as part of the Artemis III mission. After Artemis III, the agency plans to transition responsibility for production, assembly, testing, sustaining and maintenance of a fleet of flight and training spacesuits and associated hardware to U.S. Industry.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 42988
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-15-2019 04:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA video
NASA is preparing to send astronauts to the Moon by 2024 and is moving forward with design and development of the suits astronauts will wear on the lunar surface and other destinations, including Mars.

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