Operational and Technical Evaluation of Gravity Loading Countermeasure Skinsuit (Skinsuit) - 03.23.17
Floating in space, astronauts’ bodies adapt to weightlessness in ways that are not always wanted. Bone and muscle waste away as they have less work to do without gravity. The Skinsuit is a tailor-made overall with a bi-directional weave specially designed to counteract the lack of gravity by squeezing the body from the shoulders, to the feet, with a similar force to that felt on Earth. Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending Experiment Details
David A. Green, King's College, London, England
Simon N. Evetts, Ph.D., European Astronaut Centre, Cologne, Germany
J. Scott, Wyle GmbH, Germany
P. Taylor, United Kingdom
H. Rosado, UCL School of Pharmacy & NIHR University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre, London, United Kingdom
J. Attias, King’s College London Centre of Human & Aerospace Physiological Sciences (CHAPS), United Kingdom
P. Carvil, King’s College London Centre of Human & Aerospace Physiological Sciences (CHAPS), United Kingdom
D. J. Newman, MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems, Cambridge, MA, United States
D. Kendrick, MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems, Cambridge, MA, United States
J. Waldie, RMIT University School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing, Melbourne, Australia
T. Irawan, ESA-EAC European Astronaut Centre, Germany
Frits De Jong, European Astronaut Centre, Cologne, Germany
European Space Agency (ESA), Noordwijk, Netherlands
Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)
European Space Agency
Earth Benefits, Space Exploration, Scientific Discovery
ISS Expedition Duration
March 2015 - March 2016; September 2016 - September 2017
- Evaluate the efficacy of Skinsuit in reducing/preventing low back pain and preventing spine elongation.
- Measure the Gz load provided by Skinsuit on the International Space Station.
- Evaluate operational considerations, in particular hygiene/microbiology, comfort, thermoregulation, donning/doffing, impingement and range of motion to prepare for Long Duration Missions.
- Evaluate the effect of wearing Skinsuit while exercising.
- Prevent spine elongation during flight to help counteract the post-flight risk of back injury and alleviate the low back pain felt by astronauts in-flight.
- Increase understanding of the prevention of low back pain and reduction of risk of post-mission back injury in order to translate spaceflight knowledge and experience to the field of terrestrial healthcare.
Wearing a high-tech tight-fitting ‘skinsuit’ could help astronauts overcome back problems in space. When floating in space, astronauts’ bodies adapt to weightlessness in ways that are not always wanted. Bone and muscle waste away as they have less work to do without gravity.
The Skinsuit has potential use on Earth by helping the elderly and many people with lower-back problems. Additionally, Skinsuit technology could improve the support garments that are currently used for people with conditions such as cerebral palsy.
Operational Requirements and Protocols
During the SDM the crew member wears Skinsuit on Flight Days (FD) 2–5, donning it in the morning and doffing it in the evening. Immediately before donning and doffing on each day, the crew member has his stature measured and completes a short questionnaire, and the +Gz load achieved by Skinsuit is recorded in different postures (using NASA’s ‘ForceShoe’ force measurement system) with the postures documented in photographs. On FD2 and FD5, microbiological samples are taken from Skinsuit, and on Day 5 only; 20 min of CEVIS exercise will be performed on two occasions, once with and once without Skinsuit. On FD 6–9, the crew member does not wear Skinsuit, but has his stature measured and completes the questionnaire.
Decadal Survey Recommendations
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Additional Skinsuit information from ESA's Erasmus Experiment Archive
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