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Abrasion Testing of Candidate Outer Layer Fabrics for Lunar EVA Space SuitsDuring the Apollo program, the space suit outer layer fabrics were badly abraded after just a few Extravehicular Activities (EVAs). For example, the Apollo 12 commander reported abrasive wear on the boots, which penetrated the outer layer fabric into the thermal protection layers after less than eight hours of surface operations. Current plans for the Constellation Space Suit Element require the space suits to support hundreds of hours of EVA on the Lunar surface, creating a challenge for space suit designers to utilize materials advances made over the last forty years and improve upon the space suit fabrics used in the Apollo program. A test methodology has been developed by the NASA Johnson Space Center Crew and Thermal Systems Division for establishing comparative abrasion wear characteristics between various candidate space suit outer layer fabrics. The abrasion test method incorporates a large rotary drum tumbler with rocks and loose lunar simulant material to induce abrasion in fabric test cylinder elements, representative of what might occur during long term planetary surface EVAs. Preliminary materials screening activities were conducted to determine the degree of wear on representative space suit outer layer materials and the corresponding dust permeation encountered between subsequent sub -layers of thermal protective materials when exposed to a simulated worst case eight hour EVA. The test method was used to provide a preliminary evaluation of four candidate outer layer fabrics for future planetary surface space suit applications. This Paper provides a review of previous abrasion studies on space suit fabrics, details the methodologies used for abrasion testing in this particular study, and shares the results and conclusions of the testing.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Johnson Space Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Mitchell, Kathryn C.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2010
Subject Category
Space Transportation And Safety
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: International Conference on Environmental Systems
Location: Barcelona
Country: Spain
Start Date: July 11, 2010
End Date: July 15, 2010
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 903184.04.01.01
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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