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Design of Extended Range EVA PLSS Systems: Lessons From Terrestrial Exploration Missions



William C. Stone


As plans progress for construction and maintenance of the international space station and, more importantly, private missions to LEO and beyond become viable, serious thought will need to be given to re-engineering EVA (space suit) systems to achieve greater range and reliability at dramatically reduced cost. This paper discusses alternative architectures for fully closed cycle portable life support systems (PLSS) that have been built and tested over the last decade for use in hazardous subaquatic environments. Fault tolerant design, both for the mechanical and computational hardware elements, was employed in the development of four generations of prototype devices. The culmination of these designs was successfully used to explore a 600 meter long underwater tunnel which began at a depth of 1353 meters vertically beneath the surface of the earth in southern Mexico. Lessons relating to survival and range enhancement on orbital and lunar EVA missions are presented.
Proceedings Title
12th Conference on Space Manufacturing
Conference Dates
May 8-11, 1997
Conference Location
Princeton, NJ
Conference Title
Space Studies Institute


construction, maintenance, space stations, space suits, life support systems, survival, systems failure, probability, systems analysis


Stone, W. (1997), Design of Extended Range EVA PLSS Systems: Lessons From Terrestrial Exploration Missions, 12th Conference on Space Manufacturing, Princeton, NJ, [online], (Accessed April 13, 2024)
Created May 8, 1997, Updated February 19, 2017