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NASA announces a new generation of spacesuits. Do you really know anything about spacesuits? 2020-01-06

Time : 2020-01-06 Hits : 7

NASA has unveiled two of its newest spacesuits - the lunar suit and the Orion suit - in preparation for a lunar landing in 2024 and future exploration of Mars.

Lunar suit

The Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit's lunar suit, or XEMU. Use red, blue, white three color collocation, and before the pure white Apollo space suits made the appearance of color distinction. The new lunar suit USES a bearing at the waist that allows astronauts to make larger, more flexible twists and turns, especially without affecting bending, squatting and other movements. This means astronauts will be more flexible when sampling the moon's surface in the future. In addition, the new suit greatly increases the range of shoulder movement, and astronauts can even raise their arms above their heads, which previous suits were unable to do.


At the same time, to deal with the moon dust problem, the new spacesuit to the new precision equipment - the waist bearing device has been fully sealed to prevent the invasion of dust. At the same time, the new dust-proof material is also used to optimize the dust-proof design of the full suit, even in the small joints, to avoid dust infiltration as much as possible.


Orion flight suit

Orion Crew Survival System Suit, also known as Orion Crew Survival System Suit, is a bright orange color, smaller and lighter in appearance, and an updated version of the space flight Suit. Orion flight suit has the following characteristics :(1) it can provide up to 8 hours of breathing air, plus 1 hour of emergency reserve; (2) provide 100% pure oxygen mode, which enables astronauts to work immediately; (3) in the event of extreme conditions, such as a vacuum or near vacuum, Orion suits can provide astronauts with a safe pressurized environment for up to six days.


About the development of spacesuits

In fact, spacesuits were studied before the Apollo moon landings. The spacesuit is a very complex system, the equivalent of a small spacecraft. At present, the main fiber products used in space suits are nylon warp knitted fabric, PU coated nylon fabric, neoprene coated nylon fabric and polytetrafluoroethylene, Kevlar® and Nomex® fiber products. To protect the astronauts from walking outside the capsule, the Apollo lunar suit is made up of 21 layers of fabric, a combination of soft parts and rigid parts to provide support, movement and comfort.


Compared to the Apollo lunar suit, NASA's next-generation ndx-1 suit for Mars is made up of up to 350 materials, including Kevlar® and carbon fiber, and is significantly lightweight, with a thickness of around 4.8mm, adaptable to extreme environmental conditions.


Although the ndx-1 space suit has improved in weight loss and flexibility, it is essentially a combination of flexible structure and rigid structure. Based on this, Dava Newman's team at the Massachusetts institute of technology (MIT) has come up with a lighter version of the "second skin" of the Mars spacesuit, the BioSuitTM. The biggest characteristic of the space suit system lies in the blend of the memory alloy, passive elastic material and electrostatic spinning materials, using the pressure of the semi-rigid stripe fixed on the flexible tight clothing made of backpressure, replacing the traditional space clothing required heavy inflatable pressure limiting layer, thus can greatly reduce weight and improve flexibility.


Due to the space station era of frequent extra-vehicular exploration activities, the future spacesuits not only to meet the new space environment to the spacesuits function of the new requirements, but also to reduce the weight of spacesuits, increase the flexibility, in order to better perform the space exploration experiments.

For more information, please pay attention to the special study of "development status and trend outlook of aerospace textiles" in the 2018 special issue of industrial textiles published by textile guide.

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