One thing an Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) is great at is insulation. If an astronaut is generating body heat, it’s important that the EMU rejects it to keep the crew member comfortable. Just like a hybrid vehicle charges its battery when a car brakes, students at Kansas State University are developing a prototype suit that can monitor an astronaut’s vital signs by providing power to integrated electronic components by converting body heat into power. “The idea is that these sensors will report back to the space station via a wireless network, helping keep astronauts healthy on space missions and tracking data long term.”
How does NASA train it’s astronauts for spacewalks on the International Space Station? Mainly, in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab. The question often comes up, and this week it was coming from TheChive.com asking “does NASA really need the largest indoor body of water in the world to help train our astronauts?”
Author Lee Hutchinson details a day in the life at the NBL, and provides a unique behind-the-scenes look into all the work that goes into making a successful training event happen. From SCUBA divers to crane technicians to the astronauts themselves, this article is a must-read!
As noted in the artice, NASA doesn’t know where the Z-Series suit will be going, so it is designed with flexibily (in mission and mobility) including a suitport interface to reduce egress/ingress time and difficulties associated with an airlock.
Despite being named one of Times’ best inventions of the year, Z-1 is just a prototype that NASA will be building on with Z-2 and Z-3 revisions. NASA recently finished testing the suit, which means work on the Z-2 can’t be far off.
We look forward to more information on Z-2, and as it becomes publicly available, we’ll share more.
If you’ve been following the spacesuit industry long enough, you may have heard the names Ted Southern (formerly the designer of Victoria’s Secret angel wings) and Nikolay Moiseev – they began as competitors in the inaugural Astronaut Glove Challenge sponsored by NASA and ended up as business partners at Final Frontier Design.
Even though astronauts won’t be going to another planet, moon, or asteroid anytime soon, engineers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center are hard at work developing the next generation of surface EVA spacesuits. Here, engineer Amy Ross discusses some of the latest testing and technology in a two-part interview:
This presentation provides an overview of the Chinese Feitian EVA Spacesuits that were used in 2008 as China became only the 3rd nation to perform EVA. An overview of the Chinese spacesuit and life-support system were assessed from video downlinks during their EVA and from those assessments, spacesuit characteristics were identified and compared against the Russian Orlan Spacesuit (extremely similar) and the U.S. Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU).
The Washington Post (Brian Palmer) published an article on Monday providing a great overview of the challenges of living and working in space and doing spacewalks.
To state the obvious, space is an inhospitable environment… Spacesuits protect astronauts against all these challenges. They have multiple layers to provide insulation and prevent a puncture of the inner coating, which is filled with pure oxygen at a livable pressure… A layer of water circulates throughout the suit, interacting with a layer of ice near the outer surface, to moderate the temperature. A ventilation system removes excess body heat when the sun threatens to warm the astronaut too much… Modern suits have built-in life support systems, so the astronaut can function outside a spacecraft without being tethered to a much larger machine.
The suits are so self-contained that some refer to them as the universe’s smallest space vehicles.
Read more from the original publication.