Author Topic: SpaceX EVA suit  (Read 236458 times)

Offline jpo234

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SpaceX EVA suit
« on: 05/16/2017 04:04 pm »
The SpaceX flight suit for Commercial Crew should be ready by now, but it's not intended for EVA.

Now, if SpaceX really intends to fly ITS early in the next decade, I assume that they will need an EVA suit. Since NASA is short of EVA suits, does anybody know whether SpaceX intends to build their own?

Edit:
The flight suit, or IVA suit, topic is here
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=38484
« Last Edit: 08/22/2018 01:12 pm by Lar »
You want to be inspired by things. You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great. That's what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It's about believing in the future and believing the future will be better than the past. And I can't think of anything more exciting than being out there among the stars.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #1 on: 05/17/2017 02:29 am »
Wait, who says SpaceX's spacesuits for commercial crew aren't designed (eventually) to be used for EVAs?
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Offline Lars-J

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Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #2 on: 05/17/2017 02:37 am »
Wait, who says SpaceX's spacesuits for commercial crew aren't designed (eventually) to be used for EVAs?

Because that would make them impractical for use inside Dragon?

Offline obi-wan

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Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #3 on: 05/17/2017 03:21 am »
Launch and entry suits are totally different in design and function from an EVA suit. They are basically designed to let you survive - sitting quietly in your seat - long enough to come home. If used to, for example, escape fire or smoke at the pad while heading to the slide wires, they are operated at "vent pressure" - a small fraction of a psi over ambient pressure to make sure nothing leaks into the suit, but not enough to rigidity the joints.

A bigger problem is that Dragon, like shuttle, is almost certainly designed with air-cooled electronics and is therefore probably not more than minimally functional at internal vacuum. A system like Apollo, with cold plates for electronics cooling, is much more expensive to develop and build duplicate vehicles, and would be prohibitively expensive if you don't have a requirement to support routine EVAs. What you need first of all is an airlock, such as an inflatable airlock which could, arguably, be carried in the trunk along with sufficient robotics to move it to the docking port on the nose. I haven't heard any word of Elon being interested in EVA other than on the Mars surface, and there is plenty of time to develop (or buy) those suits between now and then.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #4 on: 05/17/2017 03:28 am »
Wait, who says SpaceX's spacesuits for commercial crew aren't designed (eventually) to be used for EVAs?

Because that would make them impractical for use inside Dragon?
Launch and entry suits are totally different in design and function from an EVA suit....


One of the Constellation suit designs used the launch/entry suits for EVAs by adding an overcoat for EVAs (prototypes were made, although not final ones, obviously). Just because SOME launch/entry suits aren't suited for EVAs doesn't mean SpaceX isn't going in that direction.

But please, tell me again that some launch/entry suits aren't suited for modification to EVA suits, that surely will prove that none ever can.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline WindnWar

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Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #5 on: 05/17/2017 03:45 am »
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/12/nasa-evaluting-shuttle-aces-asteroid-eva/


Covered right here. Basically stated that the ACES suit was very similar to the suits used during Gemini. I would suspect SpaceX has considered this as well.

Offline su27k

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Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #6 on: 05/17/2017 03:57 am »
They need a Mars surface suit, this has different requirements from the ISS EVA suit (see this presentation for some ideas: http://spaceref.com/missions-and-programs/nasa/nasa-fiso-presentation-future-spacesuits-the-moon-vs-mars-and-engaging-stem-talent.html), I don't think they are planning EVA during ITS cruise phase.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #7 on: 05/17/2017 03:59 am »
Yeah, I would expect SpaceX is designing their launch/rentry suits with Mars EVAs in mind.
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To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Craftyatom

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Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #8 on: 05/17/2017 04:15 am »
... Dragon, like shuttle, is almost certainly designed with air-cooled electronics and is therefore probably not more than minimally functional at internal vacuum. A system like Apollo, with cold plates for electronics cooling, is much more expensive to develop and build duplicate vehicles, and would be prohibitively expensive if you don't have a requirement to support routine EVAs.

I'd argue that, on a spacecraft with relatively modern avionics, "minimally functional" is not far from "completely functional" - the software architecture likely runs a lot more overhead (relative to its calculations), which means that power draw at "emergency" levels is not going to be significantly less than at standard levels.  Of course, the corollary to such a thing is that the avionics must work in a vacuum in case of emergency, meaning that they should be designed to function for an hour or so in vacuum anyways.

Of course, I have no idea how much of this is true - I don't think there's publicly available data on how long/hard Dv2's computers can run in a vacuum, or how low-power the system can actually go - but I personally would wager that SpaceX would rather build in a heat sink than get their computers to run at a small fraction of normal power in an emergency.  That's more of an opinion, though, what with the lack of data.

Just because SOME launch/entry suits aren't suited for EVAs doesn't mean SpaceX isn't going in that direction.

I agree that such a thing certainly isn't impossible, especially given that suit research has been going for more than half a century.  However, I personally don't think SpaceX is going to implement such a feature in the suit they're currently designing.  They're putting a lot into it - we know they're shooting for high standards - and I think that, given that this will be their first design, there's only so much extra stuff they'll want to include.  Think of all the other stuff they'll want to add first - I'm sure NASA could come up with a hundred extra features they want in a launch/entry suit before considering "extended EVA capability" as one of them.

Maybe in future they will adapt these suits to work well for EVAs, either with intrinsic changes or "overcoat" style add-ons, but I don't think that such design work is going to feature in the suit they plan on flying in 2018.  Possible?  Sure.  Probable?  I don't think so, but I could well be wrong (and SpaceX does have a penchant for "improbable" developments).  Still, personally, my money is on improved suit development concurrent with the later stages of ITS development.
All aboard the HSF hype train!  Choo Choo!

Offline Lars-J

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Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #9 on: 05/17/2017 04:39 am »
Wait, who says SpaceX's spacesuits for commercial crew aren't designed (eventually) to be used for EVAs?

Because that would make them impractical for use inside Dragon?
Launch and entry suits are totally different in design and function from an EVA suit....


One of the Constellation suit designs used the launch/entry suits for EVAs by adding an overcoat for EVAs (prototypes were made, although not final ones, obviously). Just because SOME launch/entry suits aren't suited for EVAs doesn't mean SpaceX isn't going in that direction.

But please, tell me again that some launch/entry suits aren't suited for modification to EVA suits, that surely will prove that none ever can.

Of course it is possible, just unlikely at the moment with the current state of the art suits. No need to be upset by the response.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #10 on: 05/17/2017 04:41 am »
Yeah, I would expect SpaceX is designing their launch/rentry suits with Mars EVAs in mind.

Eventually for ITS, sure, but that is likely a decade away. But not no one is going to Mars in a Dragon 2, so the current suit is likely to be very light for practical reasons. Dragon 2 has no EVA capability, so there is no need for an EVA capable suit.

Maybe in future they will adapt these suits to work well for EVAs, either with intrinsic changes or "overcoat" style add-ons, but I don't think that such design work is going to feature in the suit they plan on flying in 2018.  Possible?  Sure.  Probable?  I don't think so, but I could well be wrong (and SpaceX does have a penchant for "improbable" developments).  Still, personally, my money is on improved suit development concurrent with the later stages of ITS development.

Exactly.
« Last Edit: 05/17/2017 04:43 am by Lars-J »

Offline obi-wan

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Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #11 on: 05/17/2017 06:47 am »
Wait, who says SpaceX's spacesuits for commercial crew aren't designed (eventually) to be used for EVAs?

Because that would make them impractical for use inside Dragon?
Launch and entry suits are totally different in design and function from an EVA suit....


One of the Constellation suit designs used the launch/entry suits for EVAs by adding an overcoat for EVAs (prototypes were made, although not final ones, obviously). Just because SOME launch/entry suits aren't suited for EVAs doesn't mean SpaceX isn't going in that direction.

But please, tell me again that some launch/entry suits aren't suited for modification to EVA suits, that surely will prove that none ever can.

Actually, the idea of using a modified ACES suit for EVA was because the Orion is so heavy, they were right at the launch margins for the human segment of the ARM mission. If you observed the ACES tests in the NBL (I did), you would have heard the crew complain about the restrictive limits of motion and high joint torques in the suits. And, unless they changed their minds again, after those tests they were baselining carrying EMUs for the crew and using them for the asteroid EVAs.

It's not beyond the realm of possibility to use the same suit for launch&entry and EVA (after all, they did it throughout the end of Apollo), but the truth is you give up a lot of design features that make the EVA suit more capable and less restrictive (like shoulder and waist bearings) to avoid injury on launch and landing. Experience has shown that separating the launch&entry suits from the EVA suits produce more functional versions of each than a "one-suit-does-all" solution.

So I'm not going to tell you "that some launch/entry suits aren't suited for modification to EVA suits, that surely will prove that none ever can". As someone who's spent a good chunk of my career designing, building, and testing spacesuits, I will tell you that there are excellent technical reasons why highly capable EVA suits need design features which are incompatible with the launch & entry role. I will also tell you that the spacesuit community in the U.S. is composed of a bunch of very bright and highly motivated people, and I see no evidence to date that SpaceX is going to revolutionize the technology of spacesuits just because Elon wants a "kick-ass" looking LES. My final comment is that posting background information and having it responded to with maximal snark is not really conducive to meaningful technical discussions.

Offline jpo234

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Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #12 on: 05/17/2017 10:35 am »
I asked the initial question because of the following remark from Tom Mueller:

Quote
Then you start thinking about putting, you know, big satellites up, hundreds of them up there, and being able to service them; it really changes the whole dynamic. So that’s what we’re working on right now.

He talks about in-orbit servicing of satellites. This does not strictly imply that it will be astronauts on EVA that do the servicing, but thinking further, I wondered whether SpaceX would launch a crewed ITS space ship without the ability to leave the ship and do inspections. It just seems unlikely. So that together with the recent news about NASAs EVA suit crunch and the fact, that the Z suit won't be ready for a few years made me wonder, what SpaceX plans to do.

Developing a new EVA suit takes a few years, so if they need something around 2020, it should be in the pipeline now.
You want to be inspired by things. You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great. That's what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It's about believing in the future and believing the future will be better than the past. And I can't think of anything more exciting than being out there among the stars.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #13 on: 05/17/2017 10:54 am »
I once heard the current-generation of NASA EVA suits for the ISS as 'human-worn miniature spaceships'. This gives you an idea of the sort of complexity of an EVA suit and why I don't think that SpaceX will want to go down that route unless they absolutely have to.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #14 on: 05/17/2017 11:44 am »
The suits in the ITS video look a lot like the glimpses we see Of SpaceX's Dragon suits.

SpaceX will not be using a conventional approach here.

And while y'all might think ITS is at least a decade away, SpaceX's internal timelines are more aggressive.
« Last Edit: 05/17/2017 11:45 am by Robotbeat »
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To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Jet Black

Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #15 on: 05/17/2017 03:33 pm »
They may use an unconventional approach, but that approach will still have to obey the laws of physics.
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled. -- Richard Feynman

Offline RonM

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Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #16 on: 05/17/2017 03:41 pm »
The issue with IVA suits is they puff up like a balloon in vacuum and make movement difficult. As ob-wan mentioned, EVA suits have many special features, including shoulder and waist bearings, to improve mobility.

Unless SpaceX has used an innovative design in their IVA suits, they won't make good EVA suits with only simple add ons. We'll have to wait and see how the suits are designed.

Offline biosehnsucht

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Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #17 on: 05/17/2017 10:47 pm »
I remember seeing some clever suit design someone cooked up where it had some sort of elastic material or something to prevent the balooning effect without going the bulky route for normal EVA suits. Maybe you could mix the two, by having some kind of system to let out the suit to be more comfortable normally and then ratchet it in slightly for vacuum use to pull the tightening lines in ?

Offline chalz

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Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #18 on: 05/17/2017 10:58 pm »
I remember seeing some clever suit design someone cooked up where it had some sort of elastic material or something to prevent the balooning effect without going the bulky route for normal EVA suits. Maybe you could mix the two, by having some kind of system to let out the suit to be more comfortable normally and then ratchet it in slightly for vacuum use to pull the tightening lines in ?
Maybe like a vacuum storage bag. When you want to go outside plug in a nozzle and suck out as much air as you can.

Offline jpo234

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Re: SpaceX EVA suit
« Reply #19 on: 05/18/2017 06:54 am »
I remember seeing some clever suit design someone cooked up where it had some sort of elastic material or something to prevent the balooning effect without going the bulky route for normal EVA suits. Maybe you could mix the two, by having some kind of system to let out the suit to be more comfortable normally and then ratchet it in slightly for vacuum use to pull the tightening lines in ?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_activity_suit
http://news.mit.edu/2014/second-skin-spacesuits-0918
« Last Edit: 05/18/2017 06:57 am by jpo234 »
You want to be inspired by things. You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great. That's what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It's about believing in the future and believing the future will be better than the past. And I can't think of anything more exciting than being out there among the stars.

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