MIT Department: Aeronautics and Astronautics
Undergraduate Institution: New Mexico State University
Faculty Mentor: Leia Stirling
Research Supervisor: Aditi Gupta
I grew up on a ranch in northern New Mexico near a small town called Aztec and somewhere along the way, probably after playing with Legos too much, I decided to become an engineer. Currently I am a Junior studying Mechanical Engineering at New Mexico State University. I am involved in space based research and several aerospace related projects. Outside of classes I am close to gaining my Pilot’s license. I also greatly love basketball, running, hiking, and target shooting. In the future I hope to continue my studies to make space more livable and accessible to everyone.
2017 Research Abstract
Benchtop Validation of Kinetics and Kinematics of a Computer-Simulated Human-Spacesuit System
Alvin Harvey, Department of Mechanical Engineering, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces NM
Aditi Gupta, Department of Health Sciences & Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Chris King, Department of Aerospace and Aeronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Leia Stirling, Department of Aerospace and Aeronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
A significant portion of human factors spacesuit testing concerns movement limitations and suit reactions to astronaut movement. We focused on suit motion and reactions caused by internal impacts to the lower extremities of spacesuits. Conducting this human-suit interaction testing in a simulated computer model would save resources as well as allow for testing prior to suit manufacturing. A material reaction computer program, SUMMIT, is being retrofitted to calculate reactions for spacesuit impacts but must be validated by physical testing. The physical testing or benchtop testing revolves around a mock leg and impact rig, representing the impacts an astronaut might receive while in walking motion. This benchtop test setup was used to collect synchronized data on the force of impact with a Novel pressure sensor, velocity of impact with Vicon motion capture, and deflection of the leg due to impact with APDM inertial measurement units. Four conditions are tested at multiple velocities of impact: a rigid leg with a fixed rod impact or spring impact, and a flexible leg with fixed rod impact or spring impact. Data collected from the four different conditions is used for running SUMMIT with validated boundary conditions. Once established the program can calculate kinetics and kinematics with known material covering of the mock leg, such as a spacesuit. Further work was also done to establish a wireless testing system for validation within the Demonstrator spacesuit. Though physical testing is a luxury with spacesuits it is necessary for validation and the future of simulated spacesuit testing.