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.