Project PoSSUM Citizen-Scientists Test Commercial Space Suit

The Project PoSSUM test team in the lunar test yard at the Canadian Space Agency. The novel tests involved 12 PoSSUM citizen-scientist astronaut candidates who evaluated a prototype EVA space suit from Final Frontier Design using a gravity-offset facility developed by Kansas State University and Project PoSSUM engineers. Credit: Project PoSSUM.

As humanity looks to expand its human presence in space, whether in the microgravity of low Earth orbit, on the moon, Mars and eventually elsewhere, we’re going to need new clothing to work in a variety of environments.

One company, Final Frontier Design of Brooklyn, New York, has been working on new clothing and space suit technology since 2010.

Recently, they teamed up with Project PoSSUM and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to complete what they say was the “first commercial gravity-offset EVA (extravehicular activity) space suit test.”

Project PoSSUM scientist-astronaut candidate Kyle Foster evaluates the functionality of analog fluid line and electrical line fittings in simulated microgravity conditions using PoSSUM's gravity-offset facility located at the Canadian Space Agency.
Project PoSSUM scientist-astronaut candidate Kyle Foster evaluates the functionality of analog fluid line and electrical line fittings in simulated microgravity conditions using PoSSUM’s gravity-offset facility located at the Canadian Space Agency. Credit: Project PoSSUM.

The test was conducted at CSA headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Quebec.

Project PoSSUM (Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere), is a US based non-profit research and education organization that includes an international team of researchers. According to their website they “conduct upper-atmospheric and space technology research and communicates the science through various educational outreach programs available to students and professionals.”

The PoSSUM team that participated in the test consisted of 13 researchers, all from the US, with the exception of Shawna Pandya, a medical doctor and researcher from Edmonton.

During the test at the CSA, the Possum team participated in “evaluations in simulated lunar gravity included walking and various tests of tools developed by PoSSUM’s members that could be used on a surface EVA such as a hammer, shovel, soil sampler, and a rock hardness tester.”

They also tested “control units for remote drone and a 3D lidar imager. In addition to technical studies, PoSSUM evaluated training effectiveness methods and studied human performance in the analog environment. Participants in the EVA space suit were fitted with CSA’s biomonitoring ‘smart garment’ to measure vitals and biometrics such as heart rate, breathing rate, and blood oxygen saturation.”

About Marc Boucher

Marc Boucher
Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive Inc. Boucher has 20 years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 27 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.