|Posted on Aug 21, 2012 02:42:35 PM | NASA Testing for Human Space Exploration | 0 Comments ||
By 2012 Research and Technology Studies (RATS) crew member David Coan, an engineer with United Space Alliance at NASA's Johnson Space Center
Trevor and I started the day by getting sealed up in the Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle (MMSEV) to kick off the RATS 2012 simulated asteroid mission. The vehicle looks rather small from the outside, but on the inside it seems to be just roomy enough. Packing can be a little tricky, since there's just enough space crammed into every conceivable location, but we got it all in with the help of our Human Factors guru. Once settled in the cabin, we got down to the day's mission.
Our goal was to virtually "fly" down to the asteroid and have one of us go out on a spacewalk (an Extra Vehicular Activity or EVA) to collect some rock samples. I started off flying the MMSEV, and Trevor headed out the door. To go on an EVA, Trevor used the suitports in the back of the MMSEV, where his spacesuit was attached on the outside. He opened the inner hatch, climbed into the suit, closed the hatch, and then was off on his EVA.
View from inside the Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle (MMSEV) as the simulated asteroid mission is running on video screens. Photo credit: NASA
To simulate being on EVA, Trevor headed up to the Virtual Reality Lab, where he donned goggles that made it appear to him as if he were near the asteroid. Having Trevor settled on the front of the MMSEV, I then flew it down to each of the sample sites. With the virtual simulation projected out my front windows, it seemed as if I was really on the asteroid. Liz, Allison, and Marc helped a lot by choreographing our mission from the Deep Space Habitat.
Flying the MMSEV was great. It reacted really well to all control inputs, and it wasn't too difficult to precision fly near the asteroid surface with Trevor's helmet just inches from the rocks. We worked like that for a couple of hours, and then switched places. Climbing into the Mark III spacesuit to egress for my EVA was definitely fun, even though I was only in the suit for a few minutes.
Having trained in the space shuttle and space station airlock mockups, I found using the suitport to be very quick and easy. Once we were done with our flying tasks, we settled in for our evening tasks. That involved making a freeze dried dinner, setting up our cycle and exercising, and filling out a bunch of data sheets. Exercising in the confined quarters was challenging, and we mostly stuck with using the cycle. We finished the night by configuring our bunks for sleeping, and shutting things down for the night.
Suitport with spacesuit on the outside of the Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle (MMSEV). Photo credit: NASA
Tags : Desert RATS, Desert Research and Technology Studies (RATS), General