Author Topic: Space suits  (Read 11834 times)

Offline qralt

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Space suits
« on: 09/13/2014 05:25 pm »
I had always assumed that Commercial Crew was going to use NASA pumpkin suits for the crew, but when I was looking through Reisman's FISO presentation, he mentions developing space suits.   Which surprised me, so I started looking some more and Boeing also mentioned developing suits in some of their information posted on the web.

So my questions are: 
Are all the CC entrants required to develop a suit?  Or do they mean something like developing the interfaces to the existing suits?

It seems like a waste of money to develop a new suit that could be better spent on the vehicle.

Offline Hauerg

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #1 on: 09/13/2014 05:32 pm »
I had always assumed that Commercial Crew was going to use NASA pumpkin suits for the crew, but when I was looking through Reisman's FISO presentation, he mentions developing space suits.   Which surprised me, so I started looking some more and Boeing also mentioned developing suits in some of their information posted on the web.

So my questions are: 
Are all the CC entrants required to develop a suit?  Or do they mean something like developing the interfaces to the existing suits?

It seems like a waste of money to develop a new suit that could be better spent on the vehicle.
Without having any insight at all I guess that the current suits may be both expensive and not optimised for the new environments/constraints.

Offline oiorionsbelt

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #2 on: 09/13/2014 08:52 pm »
You might want to check out Paragon, They are working on several enabling technologies, like life support and space suits.

http://www.paragonsdc.com/index.php?action=viewPost&postID=50

Offline obi-wan

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #3 on: 09/13/2014 08:54 pm »
I know that Boeing and Sierra Nevada have been talking to David Clark, the manufacturers of the ACES suit, about a commercial launch and entry suit. When I was at SpaceX last month there was a door off the cafeteria that was labeled "Spacesuit Development", but nobody would answer any questions and I certainly wasn't invited through the door for a look around.

Offline a_langwich

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #4 on: 09/13/2014 09:27 pm »
I had always assumed that Commercial Crew was going to use NASA pumpkin suits for the crew, but when I was looking through Reisman's FISO presentation, he mentions developing space suits.   Which surprised me, so I started looking some more and Boeing also mentioned developing suits in some of their information posted on the web.

So my questions are: 
Are all the CC entrants required to develop a suit?  Or do they mean something like developing the interfaces to the existing suits?

It seems like a waste of money to develop a new suit that could be better spent on the vehicle.
Without having any insight at all I guess that the current suits may be both expensive and not optimised for the new environments/constraints.

Perhaps it is related to Commercial Crew providers trying to seat seven passengers in their space:  they may want to aim for something lighter and less bulky.  (Did anybody else get the impression looking at the interior layouts that the seats and electronic supports looked too flimsy for a 6-10g design metric?  Looks like office furniture to me.)  I agree with the OP though, spacesuits do seem likely to be a hole into which a lot of money can be poured, only to end up back at ACES.  Or Sokol, probably much cheaper.

Truth is, for capsules, are there scenarios where cabin loss-of-pressure is survivable in a suit?  MMOD breach maybe?  Was there ever a situation during the shuttle program where suits saved lives?  I suppose there were scenarios in which they would have been useful. 

In a lifeboat situation, where people are hustling off ISS to get in a capsule, do they plan to put on the suits once inside?  Can three people put on suits inside Soyuz, or do you have to put them on first and then get in?


Offline oiorionsbelt

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #5 on: 09/13/2014 09:53 pm »
Don't confuse launch and entry suits with space suits.

Offline oiorionsbelt

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #6 on: 09/13/2014 09:59 pm »
I'm sure others more knowledgeable can explain the difference, if there is any, between space suits and suits for use on the surface of say, Mars.

Offline obi-wan

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #7 on: 09/13/2014 10:02 pm »
Sokol suits are kept in the orbital module of Soyuz; in the event of a time-critical emergency you can seal off Soyuz and have time to get into your suit for EDL (entry/descent/landing). You have to get in your suit - each seat pan in Soyuz is custom-made for each crew member in their Sokol suit. If you don't enter in the same Soyuz you launched in, you have to move seat pans around between spacecraft.

Offline Rifleman

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #8 on: 09/13/2014 10:14 pm »

Truth is, for capsules, are there scenarios where cabin loss-of-pressure is survivable in a suit?  MMOD breach maybe?  Was there ever a situation during the shuttle program where suits saved lives?  I suppose there were scenarios in which they would have been useful. 




Pressure suits could have saved the crew of Soyuz 11.

Offline Bob Shaw

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #9 on: 09/13/2014 10:20 pm »
Pressure suits to date have been open cycle, dumping heat and gasses; future suits may have to be more miserly. Additionally, Mars and other bodies may demand full-on two-way biological anti-contamination technology.

Offline Bob Shaw

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #10 on: 09/13/2014 10:22 pm »
"These are not the suits you're looking for..."

Offline hop

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #11 on: 09/14/2014 12:50 am »
Truth is, for capsules, are there scenarios where cabin loss-of-pressure is survivable in a suit?  MMOD breach maybe?
Plenty of other things can cause pressure loss or un-breathable atmosphere. On Soyuz, depressurizing the DM is also a standard fire fighting procedure.

Quote
In a lifeboat situation, where people are hustling off ISS to get in a capsule, do they plan to put on the suits once inside?  Can three people put on suits inside Soyuz, or do you have to put them on first and then get in?
Yes, there's plenty of room with the orbital module, and AFAIK it is standard for departing crews to don their Sokol inside the Soyuz.  Before they started using the fast rendezvous every crew also did this in transit.

I believe it must also be possible in just the DM, because in a water landing they need to switch from Sokol to water survival suits before exiting.

Offline darkenfast

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #12 on: 09/14/2014 02:48 am »
The ACES suits are intended for bail-out scenarios, while the Sokol suits are just for keeping someone alive in their couch.  The first scenario requires a much more robust (and heavier) suit than the second.  I would guess that CST-100 and Dragon are more suited to the Sokol-type, while Dreamchaser might utilize the bail-out capabilities of the ACES.  Of course, ACES suits can work for all; just leave off the bailout gear.  Perhaps asking someone who has worn both would shed some light on the situation.

Offline manboy

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #13 on: 09/14/2014 07:31 am »
I had always assumed that Commercial Crew was going to use NASA pumpkin suits for the crew, but when I was looking through Reisman's FISO presentation, he mentions developing space suits.   Which surprised me, so I started looking some more and Boeing also mentioned developing suits in some of their information posted on the web.

So my questions are: 
Are all the CC entrants required to develop a suit?  Or do they mean something like developing the interfaces to the existing suits?

It seems like a waste of money to develop a new suit that could be better spent on the vehicle.
I believe the requirement is to have a system to protect the crew in the event of cabin depressurization or a toxic gas leak, I don't believe there is a requirement specifically for suits. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

The CCDev selectees believe a suit cheaper than ACES can be developed and have contracted the dev work to other companies.

Don't confuse launch and entry suits with space suits.
Launch and entry suits are a type of space suit.
« Last Edit: 09/14/2014 07:39 am by manboy »
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Offline Jarnis

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #14 on: 09/14/2014 09:19 am »
When I was at SpaceX last month there was a door off the cafeteria that was labeled "Spacesuit Development", but nobody would answer any questions and I certainly wasn't invited through the door for a look around.

Sounds like SpaceX - doing yet another key bit in-house.

Offline erioladastra

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #15 on: 09/14/2014 09:55 pm »
I had always assumed that Commercial Crew was going to use NASA pumpkin suits for the crew, but when I was looking through Reisman's FISO presentation, he mentions developing space suits.   Which surprised me, so I started looking some more and Boeing also mentioned developing suits in some of their information posted on the web.

So my questions are: 
Are all the CC entrants required to develop a suit?  Or do they mean something like developing the interfaces to the existing suits?

It seems like a waste of money to develop a new suit that could be better spent on the vehicle.
I believe the requirement is to have a system to protect the crew in the event of cabin depressurization or a toxic gas leak, I don't believe there is a requirement specifically for suits. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

The CCDev selectees believe a suit cheaper than ACES can be developed and have contracted the dev work to other companies.

Don't confuse launch and entry suits with space suits.
Launch and entry suits are a type of space suit.

Per requirements the CC vehicles are REQUIRED to have suits.  This was very controversial since several of them had systems in place (e.g., reserve tanks to feed a hole of 1/4 inch) and adding suits added complexity and cost.  There is still great debate within and outside of NASA whether suits really buy you anything.  There are pros/cons but generally I think this is one of those areas that is more emotional than technical when debated.

Offline spacetech

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #16 on: 09/14/2014 10:24 pm »
Its been suggested that if the Challenger crew had space suits, and ejection seats or means of a stabilized egress, they could have survived, even after the initial break up had occurred.

An F-15 pilot ejected with moderate injuries when the cockpit area had broken apart due to structural failure. At least one F-16 pilot ejected with minor injuries after the jet was hit by a SAM.

Several SR-71 (& other variant) crew have ejected out and survived without serious injury.  Bill Weaver's SR-71 broke apart in mid-air and somehow the seat systems triggered during the breakup.  Its likely the pressure suit itself provided projection from the aerodynamic forces during "egress". Other pilots have ejected supersonic or even high subsonic speeds and been seriously injured or killed. Pressure suits usually have the helmet firmly attached to upper suit which reduces neck injuries.

Columbia was non-survivable once re-entry had started and the orbiter broke apart at hypersonic speed. Post-Columbia, crew still don't typically have their suits pressurized during re-entry, and don't wear their gloves etc.

I personally think that as long as a Dragon capsule stays in one piece, and the parachutes deploy, then even a tumbling ballistic reentry could be survivable. This would likely be the case for the CST-100 as well. The Dream Chaser would likely break apart during an uncontrolled reentry.

During the Soyuz TMA-11 mishap the crew were uninjured during re-entry, and only injured when they actually hit the ground.

Offline obi-wan

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #17 on: 09/14/2014 10:39 pm »
The Soyuz 11 crew were dead before entry, as the cabin depressurized when the orbital module was jettisoned. The landing (which, as always in Soyuz), was automatic and nominal.

Dream Chaser has the same abort mode as (latter-day) shuttle: bail out at altitude when in stable flight. It's actually easier in Dream Chaser, as you go out the aft hatch and there's no issue about re-impact with the vehicle as there was on shuttle.

The people developing suits for Dream Chaser and CST-100 have told me that the DC suits are designed for bail-out with individual parachutes, but the CST-100 suits are not. I suspect (not that they're talking) that the SpaceX suits are also not designed for bailout. (I have yet to hear any credible scenario for bailout from a capsule that has a reasonable likelihood of success and that substantially increases the probability of survival.)

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #18 on: 09/14/2014 10:50 pm »
Those doing the suits for XCOR argue that space suits are very vehicle-dependent. ACES suit wouldn't really make sense if you're using a Dragon, CST-100, Dreamchaser.
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Offline qralt

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #19 on: 09/15/2014 12:23 am »
Quote
Those doing the suits for XCOR argue that space suits are very vehicle-dependent. ACES suit wouldn't really make sense if you're using a Dragon, CST-100, Dreamchaser.

So what makes them vehicle-dependent?   I could see maybe electronics and hose attachments, but seems like you could easily adapt those...or better yet, just get the specs and put the right interface in your craft to begin with.  Seems like the ACES suits would work just fine.   Do you think they are too much because it's a full pressure suit?   Hard to fit 7 astronauts who look like the Michelin man?    :)

Offline manboy

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #20 on: 09/15/2014 12:51 am »
When I was at SpaceX last month there was a door off the cafeteria that was labeled "Spacesuit Development", but nobody would answer any questions and I certainly wasn't invited through the door for a look around.

Sounds like SpaceX - doing yet another key bit in-house.
I know Orbital Outfitters was doing some work for SpaceX, I'm unsure if that's still on going.
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Offline spacetech

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #21 on: 09/15/2014 12:58 am »
The Soyuz 11 crew were dead before entry, as the cabin depressurized when the orbital module was jettisoned. The landing (which, as always in Soyuz), was automatic and nominal.

Dream Chaser has the same abort mode as (latter-day) shuttle: bail out at altitude when in stable flight. It's actually easier in Dream Chaser, as you go out the aft hatch and there's no issue about re-impact with the vehicle as there was on shuttle.

The people developing suits for Dream Chaser and CST-100 have told me that the DC suits are designed for bail-out with individual parachutes, but the CST-100 suits are not. I suspect (not that they're talking) that the SpaceX suits are also not designed for bailout. (I have yet to hear any credible scenario for bailout from a capsule that has a reasonable likelihood of success and that substantially increases the probability of survival.)
I was referring to Soyuz TMA-11 which had a ballistic re-entry. That is a pretty big anomaly on reentry that the crew survived and recovered from their injuries. If the Dragon crew have pressurized suits, and emergency oxygen, as long as the chute deploys (or the thrusters fire to cushion the landing) their survival is high.

Soyuz 11 in 1971 with a depressurization was different. They also could have survived if they had space suits pressurized.

Online Robotbeat

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #22 on: 09/15/2014 02:48 am »
Quote
Those doing the suits for XCOR argue that space suits are very vehicle-dependent. ACES suit wouldn't really make sense if you're using a Dragon, CST-100, Dreamchaser.

So what makes them vehicle-dependent?   I could see maybe electronics and hose attachments, but seems like you could easily adapt those...or better yet, just get the specs and put the right interface in your craft to begin with.  Seems like the ACES suits would work just fine.   Do you think they are too much because it's a full pressure suit?   Hard to fit 7 astronauts who look like the Michelin man?    :)
I'm not sure about the technical specifics, but another thing is that dealing with a NASA-developed product like the ACES suit would be a nightmare since it is an older suit and finding up-to-date suppliers for all the parts may be difficult.
« Last Edit: 09/15/2014 02:49 am by Robotbeat »
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Offline manboy

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #23 on: 09/15/2014 03:37 am »
Quote
Those doing the suits for XCOR argue that space suits are very vehicle-dependent. ACES suit wouldn't really make sense if you're using a Dragon, CST-100, Dreamchaser.

So what makes them vehicle-dependent?   I could see maybe electronics and hose attachments, but seems like you could easily adapt those...or better yet, just get the specs and put the right interface in your craft to begin with.  Seems like the ACES suits would work just fine.   Do you think they are too much because it's a full pressure suit?   Hard to fit 7 astronauts who look like the Michelin man?    :)
I'm not sure about the technical specifics, but another thing is that dealing with a NASA-developed product like the ACES suit would be a nightmare since it is an older suit and finding up-to-date suppliers for all the parts may be difficult.
They're modifying ACES for Orion (using the leftover suits from the Shuttle program). ACES is also heavily derived from S1034, which is still in use. So either they have a lot of spares or there may be some suppliers still manufacturing parts. If we're really curious then we can just ask David Clark.
« Last Edit: 09/15/2014 03:41 am by manboy »
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Offline a_langwich

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #24 on: 09/15/2014 05:31 am »
The Soyuz 11 crew were dead before entry, as the cabin depressurized when the orbital module was jettisoned. The landing (which, as always in Soyuz), was automatic and nominal.

Dream Chaser has the same abort mode as (latter-day) shuttle: bail out at altitude when in stable flight. It's actually easier in Dream Chaser, as you go out the aft hatch and there's no issue about re-impact with the vehicle as there was on shuttle.

The people developing suits for Dream Chaser and CST-100 have told me that the DC suits are designed for bail-out with individual parachutes, but the CST-100 suits are not. I suspect (not that they're talking) that the SpaceX suits are also not designed for bailout. (I have yet to hear any credible scenario for bailout from a capsule that has a reasonable likelihood of success and that substantially increases the probability of survival.)
I was referring to Soyuz TMA-11 which had a ballistic re-entry. That is a pretty big anomaly on reentry that the crew survived and recovered from their injuries. If the Dragon crew have pressurized suits, and emergency oxygen, as long as the chute deploys (or the thrusters fire to cushion the landing) their survival is high.

Soyuz 11 in 1971 with a depressurization was different. They also could have survived if they had space suits pressurized.

The ballistic re-entry (haven't there been several?  TMA-10, TMA-11, and at least one other earlier, just to ISS) are just high-g reentries.  The suit doesn't make any difference in handling it.

Cabin depressurization is different.  Question is, is a big, bulky, expensive thing like ACES (with a backpack, even!) required, or could you survive with a helmet and oxygen and a partial pressure suit like you would use in a high-performance aircraft?  That would handle toxic fumes, some minor fire situations, without costing a large fraction of the cost of the Dragon capsule.
« Last Edit: 09/15/2014 05:32 am by a_langwich »

Offline spacetech

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Re: Space suits
« Reply #25 on: 09/15/2014 06:46 pm »
I was referring to Soyuz TMA-11 which had a ballistic re-entry. That is a pretty big anomaly on reentry that the crew survived and recovered from their injuries. If the Dragon crew have pressurized suits, and emergency oxygen, as long as the chute deploys (or the thrusters fire to cushion the landing) their survival is high.

Soyuz 11 in 1971 with a depressurization was different. They also could have survived if they had space suits pressurized.

The ballistic re-entry (haven't there been several?  TMA-10, TMA-11, and at least one other earlier, just to ISS) are just high-g reentries.  The suit doesn't make any difference in handling it.

Cabin depressurization is different.  Question is, is a big, bulky, expensive thing like ACES (with a backpack, even!) required, or could you survive with a helmet and oxygen and a partial pressure suit like you would use in a high-performance aircraft?  That would handle toxic fumes, some minor fire situations, without costing a large fraction of the cost of the Dragon capsule.
Balistic reentry is about the most extreme condition a capsule would deal with.

Using a partial pressure suit would be incredibly risky/painful above 62,000 ft if the capsule depressurized. At one point they wanted to put operational F-22 pilots in full pressure suits. U-2 pilots have also experienced major issues with decompression sickness with a cabin altitude of 29,000 ft. It's now reduced to 9,000 ft.

The solution is to put cheaper space suits into production and service. Its the low production volumes that make them insanely expensive. They could make them less bulky as well. It just takes research and development.
« Last Edit: 09/15/2014 06:49 pm by spacetech »

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