March 19, 2015 – Engineers and technicians at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston are testing the spacesuit astronauts will wear in the agency’s Orion spacecraft on trips to deep space.
On March 17, members of the Johnson team participated in a Vacuum Pressure Integrated Suit Test to verify enhancements to the suit will meet test and design standards for the Orion spacecraft.
During this test, the suit is connected to life support systems and then air is removed from Johnson’s 11-foot thermal vacuum chamber to evaluate the performance of the suits in conditions similar to a spacecraft.
The suit, known as the Modified Advanced Crew Escape Suit, is a closed-loop version of the launch and entry suits worn by space shuttle astronauts. The suit will contain all the necessary functions to support life and is being designed to enable spacewalks and sustain the crew in the unlikely event the spacecraft loses pressure.
This is the first in a series of four tests with people in the suits to evaluate the performance of the spacesuit systems in an environment similar to a spacecraft.
Colorado-based Lockheed Martin Space Systems leads the Orion industry team as the prime contractor building the Orion spacecraft. Orion will carry astronauts on deep-space missions beyond the moon, to asteroids, and eventually Mars.