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NASA seeks new suit for space voyages

03
Oct '07
NASA has issued a request for proposals from industry for the design, development and production of a new spacesuit system for Constellation Program voyages to the International Space Station and the moon.

The Constellation spacesuit system contract is for design, development, test, evaluation and production of equipment to support astronauts aboard the Orion crew exploration vehicle. Orion will carry astronauts on trips to explore the moon and support the space station in the next decade. NASA expects to award the contract in June 2008.

The suit and support systems will enable protection against spacecraft cabin leaks and provide contingency spacewalk capability. For short lunar exploration sorties, the suit also must support a week's worth of moon walks in one-sixth gravity. Potentially, the system will support multiple spacewalks during six-month lunar outpost stays. Suits and support systems will be needed for as many as four moon voyagers per trip or six space station travelers.

Prospective contractors are being asked to develop a system that minimizes mass, volume and carry weight; donning time; maintenance requirements; suit logistics; operational overhead; life cycle costs; and operational constraints on the lunar surface in varying geographical, solar and thermal conditions.

The same spacesuit system also must maximize pressurized and unpressurized crew comfort, range of motion, reliability and work efficiency throughout multiple suit uses. Designers are being asked to incorporate flexibility and modularity to allow for efficient incorporation of future upgrades.


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