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Today we have a first at World Space Week – four analogue space suit teams around the world, all coordinated from one mission control and working simultaneously on the same experiments.
Spacesuit testers will performing agility and mobility tasks wearing:
- the Aouda.X suit developed by the Austrian Space Forum in Innsbruck, Austria
- the NDX-2 suit developed by the Human Spaceflight Laboratory of the University of North Dakota
- analogue suits at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS)
- elements of the Gandolfi suit, developed by the deep-sea diving specialists, Comex, in Marseille, France, which was recently used to recreate the Apollo 11 landing on the sea bed.
The experiments are part of WSW 2013 experiment, D-TREX, led by the Austrian Space Forum.
“D-TREX is a planning tool based on statistical measurement, which shows the average time delay between performing typical activities with the spacesuit (Extra Vehicular Activities – EVA) as compared to performing same activities unsuited,” explains analog astronaut, Luca Foresta. “D-TREX is a follow-up experiment of the DELTA© experiment, which we ran during the MARS2013 mission of the Austrian Space Forum in Morocco earlier this year.”
During the DELTA© campaign, analogue astronauts carried out six experiments first wearing the Aouda.X suit and then without the suit that tested different aspects of agility e.g. walking over rough terrain or the dexterity of hands and fingers when working with small technical devices. The analogue astronauts followed pre-defined movement patterns along an obstacle path of 9 meters by 20 metres.
“If we are going to prepare for a manned mission to Mars in the future, we need to have as much knowledge as possible on the practicalities and limitations of working in spacesuits on planetary terrains. For World Space Walk 2013, we have the amazing opportunity to work with four different teams who are developing spacesuits and to collaborate on the same set of tasks. While with different spacesuits and testers, you can’t run an exact comparison. However, we can make a start on building up a body of knowledge about how spacesuits affects the ability of the wearers to perform a task. Today’s technical test is a simple, yet important, first milestone to compare different analog suit systems worldwide,” says Gernot Groemer, the President of the Austrian Space Forum.
This article is available in: German
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