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Collins Aerospace Advances Next-Gen Spacesuit for ISS in Milestone Test
The testing process involved a parabolic flight to simulate weightless conditions, providing brief periods of weightlessness akin to those experienced in space. This method, which mimics the roller-coaster-like maneuvers of a spacecraft, allows for the detailed evaluation of the spacesuit's performance in an environment that closely approximates the microgravity conditions of low Earth orbit.
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Collins Aerospace Advances Next-Gen Spacesuit for ISS in Milestone Test
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Feb 13, 2024

Collins Aerospace, a strategic subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies (RTX), recently achieved a significant milestone in the development of a next-generation spacesuit designed for the International Space Station (ISS), marking a pivotal advancement in extravehicular activity technology. This development underscores a concerted effort to enhance the operational capabilities and safety of astronauts working in the challenging environment of low Earth orbit.

The recent completion of a pressure garment system fit and functionality test in a microgravity-like environment represents a crucial step in the project's lifecycle. This test, conducted aboard a commercial microgravity aircraft, is part of NASA's rigorous preliminary design review process, ensuring the new spacesuit meets all necessary system requirements before the commencement of manufacturing flight-ready units.

Collins Aerospace's initiative aims to replace the current spacesuit used on the ISS, known technically as the extravehicular mobility unit (EMU). The EMU has been the standard for astronauts tasked with assembling and maintaining the space station for over two decades. The need for an updated spacesuit is driven by the desire for enhanced functionality, improved safety measures, and support for an extended range of operations in space.

The testing process involved a parabolic flight to simulate weightless conditions, providing brief periods of weightlessness akin to those experienced in space. This method, which mimics the roller-coaster-like maneuvers of a spacecraft, allows for the detailed evaluation of the spacesuit's performance in an environment that closely approximates the microgravity conditions of low Earth orbit.

Looking ahead, Collins Aerospace plans to conduct further tests of the spacesuit in a vacuum chamber to closely examine its performance in a space-like atmosphere. Additionally, evaluations will take place at NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, a 40-foot deep pool at the Johnson Space Center designed to simulate the microgravity environment of space. This facility is pivotal for astronaut spacewalk training, providing a controlled setting to replicate the conditions encountered during extravehicular activities in space.

This next-generation spacesuit is not just a piece of equipment but a sign of NASA's ambition to enhance spacewalking capabilities in low Earth orbit. It is intricately designed to support station maintenance, operations, and the execution of scientific research that benefits humanity. Moreover, it plays a crucial role in demonstrating new technologies for future human and robotic missions, ensuring that NASA and its international partners remain at the forefront of space exploration and scientific discovery.

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