Bioastronautics Research

What is Bioastronautics?

Bioastronautics is the study associated with the support of life in space, including the design of payloads, space habitats, and life support systems. Project PoSSUM works with Final Frontier Design to test and evaluate commercial spacesuits and their operability within analog environments. Project PoSSUM conducts citizen-science bioastronautics research including evaluations of Final Frontier Design spacesuits and associated technologies developed within the program. Project PoSSUM members work exclusively with Integrated Spaceflight Services to evaluate Final Frontier IVA Spacesuits through a multi-year research and evaluation program to evaluate spacesuit functionality, operational envelope, prototype suit/seat interface, seat ingress and egress operations, interface with biometric monitoring and communications systems, and CO2 washout tests. IIAS studies human performance in space suits through its research affiliates, Project PoSSUM (for IVA suits) and Project OTTER (for EVA suits).

About Final Frontier Design

Final Frontier Design (FFD) was founded in 2010 in Brooklyn, NY with the intent to “craft affordable yet highly capable space suits for a burgeoning commercial space flight industry.” In 2015, Final Frontier Design won a Space Act agreement with NASA and is now developing broader spacesuit technologies. In 2019, FFD developed a prototype commercial Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) space suit which can be donned and pressurized for orbital or surface EVA. It is now in the process of certification according to the NASA flight certification standards.

 

Since 2015, Integrated Spaceflight Services has partnered with Final Frontier Design to test, evaluate, and validate the space siut prototyles in analog environments. IIAS, through Project PoSSUM and Project OTTER, continues to engage citizen-scientists with the technology maturation process of FFD space suits.

 

IVA Space Suit

EVA Space Suit

IVA Space Suit Test and Evaluation

Fundamentally, high-resolution time-lapse imagery may be used to test theories of noctilucent cloud formation, sublimation, advection and gravity wave perturbations. Together with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), Columbia University and the University of Alberta, PoSSUM graduates observe and analyze the time evolution of the noctilucent cloud field over many hours from high-resolution cameras designed for high-altitude balloon flight that will be coordinated with ground and satellite observations. PoSSUM has worked with the RCAF to make these measurements from a CT-155 ‘Hawk’ high performace aircraft and also led citizen science research campaigns from High Level, Alberta as part of AER 103, where airborne observations using a Turbo Mooney aircraft are coupled with two ground stations, one near High Level, AB. and the other near Garden Creek, AB. The research aircraft will fly a carefully-crafted flight plan at altitudes of up to 21,000’ employing scientific camera systems qualified for high-altitude balloon and suborbital noctilucent cloud imagery.

Microgravity and High-G Space Suit Evaluation

the IIAS Spacesuit Evaluation Program has been co-developed by Project PoSSUM, Integrated Spaceflight Services, Final Frontier Design, the National Research Council, the Southern Aeromedical Institute, and Survival Systems USA. We publish citizen-science and publicly-funded research on microgravity, high-altitude, high-G, and post-landing operations of intra-vehicular spacesuits.

Post-Landing Human Performance Research

Project PoSSUM and Survival Systems USA have jointly developed a program that provides analog environments to the landing and post-landing phase of human space missions, coupled with an educational program designed exclusively for PoSSUM graduates. Project PoSSUM graduates also have the unique opportunity to participate in a wide variety of lunar and Mars analog immersive science expeditions in partnership with Science in the Wild. Here, graduates investigate the actual science that would be performed on the Moon or on Mars, the tools that might be needed to conduct the science, and how those tools would be used by astronauts within an EVA spacesuit.

Human Factors Research

PoSSUM is involved in a variety of research with Embry-Riddle, including aerospace physiology and human performance research involving PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Candidates. These tests are designed to study the diversity of physiological and psychological responses to spaceflight analog conditions.

Hypobaric Hypoxia Research

Continuing High-Altitude Chamber testing of IVA space suits evaluates the ability of suit occupant to seal and pressurize in a hypoxic environment as well as the suit functionality in high-altitude environment.

EVA Space Suit Test and Evaluation

OTTER scientist-astronaut candidates take lessons-learned from operational space medicine and planetary field geology reserach activities and re-create the tools and procedures at our gravity-offset laboratory located at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters in Montreal. Here, EVA space suit protypes may be evaluated in a controlled environment. OTTER’s gravity-offset system is a two-axis system that may simulate any gravity level between 1-0G including lunar and Martian gravity levels.

Lunar-Gravity EVA Space Suit Evaluation

Test Objectives:

1) Walking under lunar gravity,

2) geological tool evaluations in lunar gravity (hammer, shovel, soil sampler, rock hardness tool),

3) remote drone operations in lunar gravity,

4) LiDAR system evaluation in lunar gravity.

Microgravity EVA Space Suit Evaluation

Test Objectives:

1) Fluid line connection in microgravity

2) electrical line connection in microgravity,

3) drill use in microgravity.

Surface EVA Tool Development

OTTER scientist-astronaut candidates concentrate on design considerations for EVA systems and tools for conducting planetary field geology. The members are then able to consider the constraints placed by human factors, the EVA environment, and science tasks upon the design and implementation of EVA suits, tools, and procedures for effective and efficient field science operations on planetary surfaces. These tools and procedures are later evaluated in a gravity-offset laboratory.

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