EVA Development and Verification Testing at NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory

Discipline: Environmental Control/Life Support

As an early step in preparing for future EVAs, astronauts perform neutral buoyancy testing to develop and verify EVA hardware and operations. To date, neutral buoyancy demonstrations at NASA JSC’s Sonny Carter Training Facility have primarily evaluated assembly and maintenance tasks associated with several elements of the ISS. With the retirement of the Space Shuttle, completion of ISS assembly, and introduction of commercial participants for human transportation into space, evaluations at the NBL will take on a new focus. In this session, Juniper Jairala briefly discussed the design of the NBL and, in more detail, described the requirements and process for performing a neutral buoyancy test, including typical hardware and support equipment requirements, personnel and administrative resource requirements, examples of ISS systems and operations that are evaluated, and typical operational objectives that are evaluated. Robert Durkin discussed the new and potential types of uses for the NBL, including those by non-NASA external customers.

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