NASA unveils new next-generation spacesuits
12:15

NASA unveils new next-generation spacesuits

Science
[MUSIC] [MUSIC] [MUSIC] [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] Welcome to the NASA Headquarters. I am NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine, and as everybody in this room is aware, we are going to the moon by 2024. And we want it to be sustainable, in other words, we're gonna be able to stay at the moon for long periods of time by 2028. And we're gonna have an orbit around the moon A gateway, in other words, a permanent and reusable Command Module around the moon for 15 years. Ultimately, the goal is this. We're going to Mars. And in order to go to Mars, we have to use the Moon as a proving ground. We need to learn how to live and work on the surface of another world for long periods of time. And in order to do that friends, we need spacesuits, the Artemis generation is now revealing its spacesuits for our generation. Let's take a look at the spacesuits of the Artemis generation. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] [MUSIC] [UNKNOWN] Christina is wearing a space suit that will fit all of our Astronauts when we go to the moon and it is also true that we have with Christine Any Ross, who is A spacesuit engineer. And we have Dustin Gohmert who is wearing not a spacesuit that we're gonna have on the surface of the moon, but on the way to the vicinity of the moon. So these are our spacesuits for the Artemis generation. [APPLAUSE] Amy, if you would share with us a little bit about how this design for the Artemis generation is maybe different than the design for the Apollo generation? Sure I'll be happy to do that. We've been working for a long time to build spacesuits that will do the job on the moon and going on to Mars. So basically my job is to take a basketball, shaping like a human, keep them alive in a harsh environment and give them the mobility to do their job. So one of the things we've looked at is trying to reduce the space here, make a smaller unit Displaying control unit here and get those shoulders to where she has a lot more mobility to move. So she's able to do across reach and get across the suit, as well as reach overhead which I can't do today and couldn't do during the Apollo program. Then in addition to that, we also because this is the first time we've gotten to build a suit specifically for a planetary space we have a lot more mobility in the lower torso, so we have a waste bearing. And we have three bearings on the legs, as well as a flexing extension joint here at the waist. And that gives Chris a lot of capability to move around, and do whatever tasks we might need to do for science and maintenance on the planetary surface. So just so everybody knows Christine's space suit is under pressure right now. That usually makes it very difficult to mobilize, and yet What is she doing? She's She's moving around if we remember the Apollo generation, you remember Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, they bunny hopped on the surface of the moon. Well, now we're actually going to be able to walk on the surface of the moon. Which is very different than our suits of the past. So if you would, Amy, tell us a little bit about the thermal environment on the moon, and how this suit is gonna be helpful in that environment? Yeah, we know Normally try to plan for a thermal environment that ranges from 250 degrees Fahrenheit to minus 250 degrees Fahrenheit with some potentially colder spots in the south pole of the moon. And so we are looking at the materials and the protection for this suit to keep our astronauts comfortable while they perform their job. So you're saying that Christine in this suit will be able to be at plus 250 degrees Fahrenheit or at minus 250 degrees fahrenheit in the exact same suit. Yes, we can and so for the moon we are using materials that allow us to do that. And when we go to Mars we will need a new insulation because that has an atmosphere In Mars and our insulation pins on the vacuum of space right now. Awesome. And then when we talk about the South Pole, which of course is the goal we wanna get to the South Pole, the moon, it's really cold. Are we gonna need to make modifications to this spacesuit for the South Pole missions. So one of the things we're looking at to go to the South Pole is if we need to design some specific Thermal systems through the boots, some cover layers, and maybe some active heating to keep her toes warm. So the goal is to get to where all of the water ice is. We know that water ice represents life support. In other words, it's air to breathe. It's also water to drink. It's also rocket fuel. And it's on the south pole of the moon. This is really amazing. I hope everybody understands the mobility of this suit is astonishing under that much pressure. So let's talk about the pressure. Another risk of being in deep space is the vacuum of space. So tell us what kind of pressure is she under? Is that 100% oxygen? Those kind of things. Certainly so this is designed top rated eight pounds per square inch of pressure. Like I said a basketball is operated around seven to nine pounds per square inch of pressure. If you put your finger your thumb together and put it on your shoulder. There's about 14 pounds 15 pounds where the air pushing down on you right now. So it's a fairly heavy pressure And then she needs to be able to move under that pressure, so we have to make the suit flexible under pressure. We used a 100% oxygen because we're trying to protect the astronauts from the compression sickness. And so that high oxygen concentration and the high pressure, then allows her to go out and do a space walk quickly. And not have the bends, which is decompression sickness. And then we can bring the pressure down because we have a new technology in the life support system, the backpack, that allows her to come down to a four pounds per square inch of pressure and have more flexibility in her gloves while she works. And the gloves are key because your dexterity, show us if you can move your fingers. Can you move? She can't hear us because she's in the vacuum right now. He's under pressure. So, that's really impressive. Okay, so another big challenge when we go to the moon is the lunar dust which is extremely fine grained and be very damaging for spacesuits. And of course we had to learn this for the first time in the Apollo program. So now we can take what we learned and apply it here tell us what we've learned and how we're doing things there. Yeah so my mentor worked on the Apollo suit and two things I learned were zippers are bad and cables are bad. So we have no zippers and cables on this suit, while we have our bearings so we can move easily in that pressurized suit And what we need to do then, is protect the bearings from the dust. And so we have seals on the bearings. We also are designing our environmental protection garments, so that it helps mitigate the dust as well. There'll be fewer seams and new materials that keep the dust out. That's fantastic. Let's give Christine a big hand. By the way, let's, before we do that, she's gonna show us how to pick up A rock if she can handle it, and she can. It's heavy rock. This is difficult to do in a spaces, all right. [APPLAUSE] I got the rock [APPLAUSE] Thank you. Okay, so she's under pressure right now. And whe could very well run out of air very shortly. So she's gonna be exiting the stage. And we are gonna bring up Dustin. Do you want me to take that? I'll just set it back down here. So Dustin is wearing a different type of space suit. I guess Amy will come back a little later. But Dustin, tell us about the space that you're wearing and how it's different than the space that we're gonna wear on the surface of the moon. Yes, sir. Good to be here. This is the Orion crew survival suit. And so while the mission of that suit is to do what we do when we're there, this is a suit that gets us there and gets us home safely So this suit is fully integrated with the vehicle from the ground up so when it's it's tailored to the human body it's also tailored to the seat so we have 100% fit in the vehicle and 100% integration with Orion ecosystem so.>> So when you say Eclipse for the audience>> Yes, apologize we speak and lots of acronyms so yes.>> Environmental control and life support systems.>> Yes, sir. Got it. Okay, so your suit is generally gonna be depressurized, which gives you a lot of mobility, flexibility and of course, when you're flying in deep space, you're gonna be just fine without the pressure in the suit. Why would it need to be pressurized, when you're in a pressurized capsule? In a pressurized capsule, we don't necessarily have to be pressurized in a suit. There may be some future cases of decompression sickness mitigation that we might wanna use it for. But the primary use is in the case of a Accidental depressurization, we can take safe haven in this suit, we'll seek refuge in here, we'll keep the body at 8 psi for a certain period of time and then we'll drop down to about 4.3 psi. And we can remain there for up to six days. And so that's no small feat to be able to live in a volume that's only a couple inches bigger than your body for six whole days. This is in essence When necessary a spacecraft. And same as the space suits that we just saw for the xEMU, which is how we're gonna walk on the surface of the moon. It is a personalized spacecraft for a person walking on the moon. In other words So let's pretend you do have an unfortunate depressurization kind of situation. Maybe a meteorite impacted your vehicle punched a hole in the capsule. You still got to get home. Now you've got a spacesuit that is providing all of your life support. That's the intent, right? That's correct, sir. So other than the life support, what parts of the mission will you be having? You'll be able to get out of this suit when you're in deep space? That's correct, as soon as we get to orbit, the crew will nominally take the suit off. We talked about the word doffing this morning, which is to remove the suit. We'll stow it for the, most of the mission We won't put it back on till it's time to come home. Once we get home though, it's not just this suit that provides a safety and deep space if we had a contingency on landing the suit is designed for all the aspects of the post landing safety for the crew as well. So it has thermal protection? It does have thermal protection. Not the same as what the XEMU has, though, in terms of the radiation environment of space. But internally and under this suit, we'll wear garmets to manage our thermal environment with liquid cooling. Awesome. So I just want to say thank you to you, Dustin, another space suit engineer. Amy, who was just up here, a space suit engineer. Christine, who is in The XMU which is the spacesuit that we're going to use to walk on the moon, also a spacesuit engineer. We have some really talented people. Remember this? We as the Artemis generation are building spacesuits that will fit all of our our Astronauts we want every person who dreams of going into space to be able to say to themselves, yes they have that opportunity. And that's what we're working on right now at NASA. [BLANK_AUDIO]

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