Obstacle course for a Man in a spacesuit simulator

Mar 8, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: OEWF News, PolAres, PolAres Suit "Aouda"

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Dachstein Mars Simulation
27. April – 01. May 2012

In preparation for the five day Dachstein Mars simulation filled with various experiments at the Dachstein Caves near Obertraun Austria, the OEWF takes a new look at what the new Aouda.X spacesuit and its suit testers can handle.
How fast can a suit tester run with in the Aouda.X? How tiring is it to climb up a flight of stairs? Can he climb over rocks; how about those snow plowed mountains that all kids love to play with?
These are a few of the questions that the Aouda.X Team was looking to answer on Friday, March 2, 2012 on the technical campus of the university of Innsbruck.

donning for the test

donning of the spacesuit (c) OEWF (Mathias Hettrich)

The experiment directors, Sebastian Hettrich and Alejandra Sans, devised a simple but effective way to answer these questions. We have all done it, whether with a car or on a bike or even on foot, but only a few dedicated suit testers get to do it inside Aouda.X. The idea is simple make an obstacle course and push the suit tester to his limits.

Ulrich Luger as suit tester

Ulrich Luger as suit tester (c) OEWF (Mathias Hettrich)

It did not take long for the campus to be transformed into an obstacle course. The course included four snow-mountain passages, almost 40 meters of rock climbing and more than 60 meters of slushy snow terrain amongst others. This was done in order to simulate the conditions within the Dachstein Cave system. A total of almost a dozen OeWF members helped with everything from Operation Control, Donning/Doffing, Time keeping, and even drawing bright „rocks“ to make the simulation happen.

First up on the course was suit tester, Ulrich Luger, his preformance surpassed the expectations of the experiment directors. After his 40 meter sprint, much to the Flight Planners surprise, he reported that he was in nearly prefect physical conditions. This resulted in an impromtu change of the course; the addition of over 110 meters of stairs and an extra sprint of 50 meters in order to bring him to his physical limits. The whole course took Ulrich Luger a little under an hour, a much better preformance that originally expected. In the Afternoon, under slightly slushier conditions, Gernot Grömer took the challenge. He was unallowed to finish the course due to his high CO2 levels. However, he was able to finish three quarters of the course in little under 45 minutes.

Gernot Groemer during the obstacle course

Gernot Groemer during the obstacle course (c) OEWF (Mathias Hettrich)

All in all, despite a few minor mishaps, the simulation was considered a success. The data is currently being reviewed and will be used as a basis for calculations of a path optimization program for the Dachstein Mars Simulation.

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