Final Frontier Design completes microgravity tests of pressurized space suit

NewSpace Watch
December 20, 2017

An announcement from Final Frontier Design:

Final Frontier Design completes microgravity testing and validation

of a pressurized IVA space suit.

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK. December 20, 2017 – Final Frontier Design (FFD) completed 4 microgravity research flights on Zero Gravity Corporation’s (ZERO-G) Boeing 727, in November 2017, to evaluate and qualify their Intra Vehicular Activity (IVA) space suit for the dynamic environment of space flight. The testing marks the culmination of a NASA Flight Opportunities Program cooperative agreement with FFD, and was supported by Integrated Spaceflight Services (ISS) of Boulder, Colorado. A team of 15 people from FFD and ISS assisted to safely execute the mission.

FFD’s IVA space suit in a “float” test.

FFD’s IVA space suit in a “float” test.

The flight research testing involved 4 human test subjects evaluating the operations, effectiveness, and comfort of FFD’s IVA space suit in multiple flight-like scenarios. A new, flight-level space suit was built by FFD for the tests, and was pressurized up to 3.5 psi during operations. A flight simulator and flight seat, provided by ISS, were used to support and evaluate suit performance; a life support system was deployed to validate flow rates into the suit. Multiple sensor systems measured environmental and biomedical conditions during the testing. The human-in-the-loop testing protocol was approved by NASA’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) in Houston, Texas. Three prior flights with the National Research Council of Canada were completed in October, 2017 in Ottawa, Ontario province.

The flights mark an important milestone in the qualification of FFD’s suit for space flight. FFD president Ted Southern remarked

“We are excited to announce good performance of our suit in a flight like environment from a physiological and performance perspective. Factors such as CO2 levels, suit and subject temperatures, and heart rates were all below our predefined limits; the test subjects overall reported a comfortable and effective experience. I’m proud to have worked with such a talented team to qualify our suit and grateful to NASA for the support.”

About Final Frontier Design: Final Frontier Design is a Brooklyn-based design firm specializing in advanced safety garments for space and extreme environments.

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