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The Space Review: Have Moonsuit, will travel



x-ray space gloves

Neil Armstrong's x-ray photo of an Apollo 11 glove from his historic moonwalk was taken as part of the restoration process. Apollo astronauts had many lessons to give to NASA because he worked to develop new moonwalking clothes. (credit: NASM)

Apollo Visited Back




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In July, the Apollo Moon suit from Neil Armstrong will be on display at the Smithsonian Aerospace and Space Museum after undergoing major renovations. The Apollo Moon outerwear is practically an iconic object, appearing in hundreds of photos and hours of films and television footage taken on the Moon. But space clothing represents the first experiment in planetary space clothing, and unfortunately, they remain the only proven planetary space clothing.

Connors and Eppler tried to "straighten about Apollo EVA" and learn something from the astronauts who walked on the Moon.

Now NASA plans to send humans back to the Moon in five years, they will need new space. Clothing that is regularly used for space travel on the International Space Station cannot be used on the Moon for various reasons, including the fact that the legs do not bend. NASA has been studying planetary outerwear since and since Apollo, but it is usually not deep. Although there were several studies on planetary space clothing carried out as part of the Constellation program, it ended a few years ago before proceeding to a full space prototype prototype. Space planets are not simple equipment, and the Apollo program highlights many difficult technical challenges.

In the early 1990s, after NASA was given orders to march months by President Bush earlier, the agency consulted a number of moonwalkers who were still holding on to designing extra vehicle activity systems (EVA) for the lunar surface. Their memories are compiled in a summary document in 1993. The lesson is still valid today.

The authors of this document, Mary Connors of the Ames Research Center and Dean Eppler of the Johnson Space Center, explained that they conducted research to compensate for what they called two "syndromes that affect some (by no means all) people in exploration programs."

The first is what they call Apollo Nostalgia Syndrome, or Appollonious Memorilapsus, a misery that afflicts white men in the 50-60 year age range who can only remember a little about what, if any, they have done with Apollo EVA . The second is Apollo Ignorance Syndrome, Appollonious Ignoramous, which attacks men under 40 years who have been with the agency for less than ten years. "Symptoms are blank expressions, and repetition of phrases," What do you mean we go to the Moon !? '

Connors and Eppler tried to "straighten about Apollo EVA" and learn something from the astronauts who walked on the Moon. So they gave invitations to the moonwalkers who survived and seven of them responded. Astronauts are Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, Apollo Bean 12 Alan, Ed Mitchell Apollo 14, Dave Scott from Apollo 15, Charlie Duke from Apollo 16, and Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt from Apollo 17.

The former astronauts agreed to participate in a half-day session. This began with a briefing on NASA's basic moon mission in 1992, known as the First Lunar Outpost (see "Last month's post", The Space Review, March 15, 2004). They were then asked to conduct practice sessions with various EVA equipment. These include Apollo space clothing, known as the Extravehicular (EMU) Mobility Unit, Shuttle EMU, and sophisticated EMU. They were also interviewed for approximately two hours. The training session is intended to greet what Connors and Eppler call "physical memories", or what it feels like to move in space clothing. This also includes sessions with Apollo gloves, 4000 Series gloves, and sophisticated development gloves, all mounted in a glove box where the atmosphere has been removed, producing gloves that swell like a balloon, as in actual operation.

Interviewers seek to develop consensus to be used in planning future EVA. They discussed topics such as mission and structure approaches, EVA suits, life support systems for suits, use of automation in suits and life support systems, displaying information and controls, moon inventors, EVA tools, operational and philosophical procedures, and training.

Apollo astronauts also felt that they had been too rigidly scheduled during their mission and that this would change for the moon's future mission.

Moonwalker said that the moon's design mission philosophy in the future must include a complete system, achieving seamless integration of crew into facilities and equipment, with equipment designed to fit the tasks assigned by the crew, not vice versa. They emphasize that simplicity and reliability are important, with routine tasks and simple emergencies that encourage design, not the worst scenario. The crew must also be "basically autonomous" and take a more active role in mission planning than they had during Apollo.

Apollo astronauts also felt that they had been too rigidly scheduled during their mission and that this would change for the moon's future mission. The crew of two people must be the basic unit, even though they think that EVA contingencies carried out by a single moonwalker are reasonable. They also feel that EVA that lasts seven to eight hours every day is acceptable, and most of them feel that doing it every day is the way to operate. Apollo 15 astronauts have done the first seven hours of EVA. Apollo 16 astronauts have done two EVA surfaces of this duration, and Cernan and Schmitt have done three EVA for seven hours. However, they feel that the schedule depends on crew autonomy. At Apollo they must remain on a rigid schedule, but in the future it must be left to the crew to decide whether they are safe and ready for a day's work.

The astronauts feel that when it comes to designing EVA settings, simplicity and reliability are the most important factors. They believe that the key to adjusting flexibility is low operating pressure and pure oxygen atmosphere. They think that variable pressure settings are interesting concepts that have the potential, but are unacceptable if not simple and reliable. There is no consensus about the mass of suits. Some feel that the mass of Apollo's suit is too high, while others think it is acceptable.

The Apollo space suit can basically be thrown away – after their last EVA is not reused and in fact astronauts and clothing engineers are surprised at the amount of erosion suffered by suits in moving parts due to abrasive moon dust. Moonwalker emphasizes that the simplicity of maintenance is the main design requirement for long duration missions. They are also rather jumbled about a more sophisticated suit design, such as a hard suit, a rear entrance setting, and a docking suit to the outside. The back door design, where life support backpacks from clothes swing open to allow astronauts to enter into the suit, makes it easy for a single astronaut to wear his suit without help. This was the approach taken by Russia with their Orlan space clothing, and that was also the approach chosen by the Soviets for the EVA suit in their cricket month. But many of the moonwalkers were worried that a large seal would be damaged by the dust of the moon.

One possible method to prevent lunar dust coming out of the residential module is to store outer space clothing, "attach it" to the habitat module. Although former astronauts consider this an interesting idea, they feel that it requires further research.

Each space outfit consists of two main components: the pressure setting itself and the Personal Life Support System, or PLSS. The moonwalkers gave Apollo PLSS high marks for reliability, functionality and capability. They feel that future PLSS designs must emphasize low mass and high reliability.

Another subject that is very interested in astronauts is space gloves. They all feel that the gloves they use are almost inadequate and better gloves are needed.

They were also asked about the possibility of refilling their PLSS during EVA, but some of them were skeptical. They think that this can reduce the mass, but they worry about security and leave the hab on the long EVA without enough material to make it back. They also ruled out the use of navel oxygen cylinders because they cannot work and are dangerous.

There is one point the moonwalkers agree on: moon dust is a big problem. It goes into everything and is very rude. They suggested that equipment exposed to dust be separated from the residence. Clothing must be cleaned after each EVA, both inside and outside.

Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt has openly talked about the small respiratory problems he suffers from dust, which are compared to allergies. Although moonwalker does not consider the dust they encounter during their short surfaces to remain a health problem, they admit that it can be dangerous on longer missions, causing problems such as silicosis.

Another subject that is very interested in astronauts is space gloves. They all feel that the gloves they use are almost inadequate and better gloves are needed. Apollo gloves impose huge limits on hand mobility, finger dexterity and tactics, and result in serious arm fatigue. It starts in a few minutes from the start of EVA and continues throughout the day. They agreed to increase in the Series 4000 space gloves compared to Apollo gloves, but felt that more work was needed. Special gloves are a must – in fact, it is currently NASA's policy to produce gloves specifically for all astronaut training for EVA. Although Apollo astronauts were attracted by the possibility of end effectors rather than gloves, they felt that they needed more research.

The moonwalkers also say that tool control is difficult, with the main problem being gripping the device. Apollo's gloves made it difficult to hold the tools, and hand tools caused a lot of fatigue. They think that it is absolutely necessary that there is a way to hold the tool in the hand without gripping it continuously.

The moonwalkers are not opposed to increasing the use of automation, but they still want manual backups and replacements. They agreed that checkout automatic settings is a good idea. They also like the idea of ​​visual display to display task information, and aural alarms to tell astronauts about problems. They also feel that the head and controls that are activated sound attractive, but are worried that this will add to the complexity and might overload the moonwalker. Electronic checklists are a good idea, but must be updated.

Three of the Apollo missions include the inventor. The astronauts who use it agree that loading, storing, and access to tools are not very good for inventors. They also feel that the rover must be repaired with special tools. Nobody wants to repeat the makeshift repairs that Cernan and Schmitt had to do with their moon propellers by using supplies such as maps, ribbons, and clamps borrowed from utility lights.

They also feel that the experiment must be sturdy. Some equipment has been damaged by astronauts who are awkwardly wearing their large space clothing. They felt that the problem with equipment or experiments on Apollo could be avoided if they understood the sixth gravitational effect. During their mission, astronauts also found that storing samples was problematic, especially when they were in a hurry. One astronaut recommends that a simple shopping bag with a handle will be very useful.

When it comes to surgery, crews on long-term missions need greater autonomy. They need to hold a daily planning meeting with operations and science personnel, planning activities the next day based on previous results. Some of them were frustrated because there was never enough time to investigate the site correctly, and felt that it was important to give the crew as much time as needed to document and investigate the exploration site.

Astronauts consider it possible to walk back from the distance of 20 kilometers. They also feel that operating under sunlight or daylight is feasible, as long as thermal conditions are understood. They also think that robotic teleoperations must be integrated into operational planning.

When it came to training, former astronauts were very strict: "Practice hard: You will go to the Moon or Mars, damn it, not on vacation!" Many moon walkers have been in the military and are repeating lessons that have hammered them there, and they have seen working well on the ground: practicing everything "so you don't have to make it up when you go."

When it came to training, former astronauts were very strict: "Practice hard: You will go to the Moon or Mars, damn it, not on vacation!"

The discussions with Apollo moon sailors took place more than a quarter of a century ago – in fact, years have passed since astronauts gathered at NASA to talk about EVA in the Moon in the early 1990s rather than what had passed because those people have walked on the Moon—A indication of how long NASA has discussed the return of the moon. When President George W. Bush announced in 2004 that the United States would embark on a new effort to eventually return Americans to the surface of the Moon no later than 2020, people who were assigned to the work immediately began discussing how they would achieve it. NASA held several discussions about lunar operations in the spring of 2005 and once again asked several astronauts who had walked the Moon three decades earlier. In particular, at a public hearing in April 2005, a special committee tasked with describing the steps needed to return to the Moon heard presentations on some of the proposed moon surface equipment that could be used, including lectures by Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt and the Apollo Commander 17, Gene Cernan, who participated by telephone. But Apollo astronauts are dying, and are no longer the first resources.

Since the early 1990s, NASA has gained a lot of EVA experience and made efforts to improve the agility of gloves for tasks such as the Hubble service mission. In the late 2000s and in this decade, NASA also went through another period of space clothing research and design, although the work succumbed to bureaucratic problems. If the current plan to return to the Moon does not fall apart, NASA will once again increase space clothing efforts and review previous work, possibly going back to Apollo. If they choose to talk to one of the remaining Apollo astronauts, according to Connors and Eppler, they will likely hear about a requirement that astronauts think is heavier than others: "Better gloves, better gloves, gloves better hand. "


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