The modular nature of the MX-2 is designed to accommodate easy and regular upgrades, in order to test advanced EVA technologies in a realistic simulation environment. Early efforts will focus on advanced space suit design technologies, including alternative soft good designs in the arms, and assessment against “hard suit” rotary joints in the shoulders and elbows. Alternatively, mechanical counterpressure approaches will be tried, ranging from simple replacement gloves to fully integrated hand/arm gloves integrated to the suit at a higher level of the arm. Similarly, the lower torso assembly may be augmented or replaced by multi-roll hip and/or knee joints. The modular nature of the MX-2 will also accommodate advanced robotic components, such as might be used for direct force augmentation or reduction of wearer work loads for actuating major suit joints.

MARS suit development is planned far beyond the MX-2. The Space Systems Laboratory is already researching alternative fabrication technologies which will allow the creation of future suit components (particularly the hard upper torso, backpack, and hatch assembly) with much less investment of time and labor than the hand laid-up system used in the MX-1 and MX-2. Lightweight suit simulations will be useful for research into planetary surface operations, particularly the SSL core research into EVA/robotic interactions. Advanced suit concepts, such as the Command/Control Pressure Suit, can be prototyped and evaluated much more conveniently than for a flight-rateable unit.

Questions? Comments? Contact Shane Jacobs