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Engineering Design of an EVA spacesuit propulsion system

A project by: Paula Mills

£1,273
pledged of £2,500 target
50%
FUNDED
10
SPONSORS
Congrats! This project has reached its minimum needed of £1,250 and is going for its target of £2,500!
Re-designing the propulsion system within the spacesuit - The future of space exploration

SO...WHAT DOES MY PROJECT ACTUALLY AIM TO DO?

Ok..for those that are in the know about EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity) suits, you will know that manoeuvrability is an issue. The suits are bulky, gloves are cumbersome and the existing propulsion unit requires the additional SAFER 'backpack' and hand controller. 

For this project I will be focusing on the propulsion aspect of the EVA suit. Smaller / lighter tanks with larger volume of gas, flexible feed lines through to different parts of the suit alongside 3D printed Carbon fibre nozzles located strategically to allow strategic activation from potentially wrist / hand locations to control thrust amount and direction. "Let's go Iron Man" as Mark Watney would say. No more huge SAFER backpacks and hand controllers - allowing the astronaut greater freedom of movement. 

Focus will also be on the type of gases used. Two will be tested within this project to give greater efficiency - Helium and Nitrogen. The system will be adaptable to integrate within current and planned EVA suits.

Who am I?

I'm Paula, a mature student now studying Aerospace Engineering, Astronautics and Space Tech BEng here at Kingston University London. I am mum of five and a total career-changer from my previous life as Buyer / Manager / Director in Leisure and Retail. One of my 6 year-old twin girls already has her heart set on wearing one of mummy's spacesuits...no pressure!

I have had a fascination with space exploration for sometime now and aim to design and develop new ways to help improve human spaceflight and potential planetary habitation. I plan to focus on areas that may not have been developed for some time - of which leads me nicely on to the subject of spacesuits. 

WHY SPACESUIT PROPULSION?

Ok, so spacesuit propulsion has been majorly overlooked in terms of future space exploration planning. It is seen as an emergency only scenario whilst working outside of the International Space Station. With programmes such as Artemis planned, suitable EVA propulsion is so important not only for safety but also to increase productivity whilst working in the vacuum of space and building space habitats in orbit and on surface.

Where will the money go?

Propulsion components are fairly costly. But then again this project is a little unusual and hopefully helping the UK pave the way for engineering design within this field. In order for me to accurately represent the cold gas propulsion system, I will need to order the necessary COPV tanks, feed lines, design and print of nozzles. Where possible I would like to test in vacuum chamber conditions so please do get in touch if you can help in this regard.

In order to document this project I will also plan to work with students within Film, Art and Photography within Kingston University to showcase this exciting venture and bring together the creativeness across all STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) fields and work collaboratively. 

FINAL PRESENTATION DAY

For those that back one of my larger pledges, I would love for you to come and see the final presentation, see the propulsion unit, view an amazing replica Apollo 11 Armstrong spacesuit owned by the fab Dallas Campbell and sample what it is like to use EVA spacesuit gloves to grapple everyday items. 

AND BEYOND THIS PROJECT?

So this will be part of my final year dissertation project, but it does not stop here. The research, designing, manufacturing and testing will continue as I progress into post-graduate studies to take this further. 2020-2021 will see more detailed development of the spacesuit along with my fully integrated and functional propulsion system. 

Rewards

Please see the pledge section for more detail on rewards. 

Find ME here

Twitter - @astro_vixen

LinkedIn - @astro-vixen

Help me succeed!

Please do share away, I am hoping there are lots of people out there that also can relate to this project. It is an exciting and unusual one I know, but if we are planning to visit the Moon again and Mars we need consider this aspect of human spaceflight and exploration. Please do feel free to message me if you have some feedback and ideas for the project - all gratefully received. Even if you cannot financially support, sharing helps so much. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my page 

Paula