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Suitport Concept

With the current generation of space suits substantial time is devoted to don and doff the multi-piece suit, and even more time and energy is consumed to evacuate the air lock so that the astronauts can begin their EVA (ExtraVehicular Activity). For planetary surfaces, such as the moon or Mars, the airlock itself is a major source for contamination in the form of dust, which are very abrasive compared to dust formed on Earth. The goal of the Suitport system is to address all of these issues and streamline the process involved for EVAs.

The Suitport is a two-part system with one half attached to the NDX-2, UND's rear entry space suit, and the other half attached to either the rover or the habitat. Unlike current space suits, with the Suitport the NDX-2 is actually on the outside of the rover or habitat. To enter the suit, the prospective astronaut simply opens up the hatch on the interior of the rover or habitat, then opens the hatch on the back of the space suit and proceeds to climb into the space suit. Once inside the astronaut operates a few mechanisms to close and seal the suit and rover/habitat hatches.

When out on an EVA the part connected to the NDX-2 encloses the space suit Portable Life Support System (PLSS) much like on current space suits. With this concept an astronaut is able to don their space suit and go on an EVA without assistance from other crewmembers, something that is required for donning current space suits. The other crucial feature is that since the space suit stays outside the rover/habitat and since the astronaut doesn't have to re-enter the rover/habitat through an airlock the chances for contaminations from planetary dust is minimized.

Suitport image 1

Left: Suitport assembly that connects to the NDX-2. Right: Rover mount and Suitport dock.

Suitport image 3

Dome section of the space suit portion of the Suitport showing a mock up of the PLSS fitting.

Suitport image 2

Space suit portion of Suitport in open configuration for donning/doffing

Suitport image 4

NDX-2 Space Suit with Pablo de Leon entering through rear opening