Lunar Base Pressure, O2 Fraction, and ExtraHabitat Activity Suit Design

by George W. Morgenthaler, Univ of Colorado at Boulder, United States,
Edward G. Barrett, Univ of Colorado at Boulder, United States,
Dale A. Fester, Univ of Colorado at Boulder, United States,
Carolyn G. Cooley, Univ of Colorado at Boulder, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space III

Abstract: A major dilemma exists in determining optimum habitat and ExtraHabitat Activity (EHA) suit pressures for future space missions, balancing human safety requirements and the case of EHA operations versus the need for baseline data on human and experimental responses at low psi/high O2 concentration. High cabin pressures (e.g., 14.7 psi, 21% O2) are preferred by the Life Science/Medical community, in that adequate physiological and medical databases exist concerning the response of the human body for such atmospheres. However, at high habitat pressures, a high pressure EHA suit becomes desirable, in that it eliminates the need for prebreathing prior to EHA. However, higher pressure suits reduce mobility, increase hazards due to leaks, and increase physical discomfort during and following EHA tasks. Additionally, no high pressure suit currently exists and would be required to be developed at a significant cost impact. A low pressure suit offers the desired mobility, but its use implies the need for extensive prebreathing and postbreathing, thus impacting useful EHA operational time. On the other hand, low cabin pressures (e.g., 5 psi, 70-100% O2) allow the use of the existing, low pressure suits with no prebreathing required. However, no solid database exists on physiological and medical effects under these conditions, and new databases would be required to evaluate the effects of long duration missions. Moreover, the combustion potential is much greater in such habitats.

Subject Headings: Space life support systems | Databases | Space colonies | Aircraft and spacecraft | Safety | Case studies

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