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Science Report
Eric Watkins

 A significant risk during spaceflight is protecting crewmembers while they conduct operations 
outside the spacecraft or on the surface of settings like the Moon or Mars. Space suit design has 
evolved significantly since the early days of the Mercury program in the United States. The current 
EVA suit used by crewmembers aboard the ISS is a marvel of technological innovation, however these 
suits are bulky, require a large amount of storage space, and are not particularly flexible thereby 
limiting physical movement. Therefore, for missions to the International Space Station (ISS), the 
Moon, Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), and Mars, research is needed to develop flexible and protective 
space suits for extravehicular activities (EVAs) outside the spacecraft and for surface operations 
(e.g., on Mars). 

Final Frontier Design is a private space suit design company that is currently working to address 
this need for a new and more flexible space suit. The Embry-Riddle Human Factors Department has 
partnered with Final Frontier Design to test various space suit components for usability. Final 
Frontier Design has allowed Crew 131 to borrow a set of prototype gloves for usability testing 
during their mission. This usability testing will involve completing fine motor tasks inside the 
Hab as well as outside the Hab during walking and ATV EVAs. Following each test, participants will 
complete the System Usability Scale as well as a brief questionnaire with questions specific to the 
use of these gloves. So far, data has been collected on two participants over the past two days. 
Each crewmember will participate in the Glove testing twice during Crew 131’s two-week mission. 

Additionally, the Human Factors Department has provided Crew 131 with an additional study which 
involves determining the efficiency of an armband display while attached to a space suit. All 
participants will take part in the study twice throughout the two-week mission. Currently, armbands 
have been operated by four participants over the past two days and will continue to be used for 
both walking and ATV EVA’s. Participants will take one questionnaire, the System Usability Scale 
(SUS), once they have returned from their EVA. At the conclusion of this study, we hope that the 
data collected will provide us with useful information for improving the Final Frontier Design 
Gloves as well as insight into whether an armband device would be a useful addition to the ERAU 
Human Factors Department EVA suit design.