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Human Research Program

Wearable Kinematic Systems for Quantifying 3-D Space Utilization in the Microgravity Environment

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Astronauts living and working onboard the International Space Station (ISS) provide a unique opportunity to capture and quantify the “architectural layout and 3-D space utilization” in a microgravity environment. As NASA looks to design and build future space exploration vehicles, information gathered on the human-system operational environment on-board the ISS will provide critical data on the minimum net habitable volume (NHV) for these systems. This proposed research aims to produce a validated wearable kinematic system to unobtrusively and continuously determine an ISS crewmember’s navigation state vector as a function of time for characterizing vehicle habitability to reduce the risk of incompatible vehicle/habitat design for future deep space exploration missions. We aim to leverage extensively the wearable kinematic and positioning systems that have been developed at Draper Laboratory under prior NASA and U.S. Army Programs. In addition, we aim to leverage Draper’s decades of guidance, navigation and control, and perceptual systems experience for navigation in complex environments as well as our human-systems integration and engineering capabilities.

The overall goal of this project is to develop the concept of operations, high-level architecture, and requirements (crew/hardware/software) for ISS transition of a wearable kinematic system to be used for quantifying 3-D space utilization in the microgravity environment. This will be accomplished by demonstrating the vision-aided inertial navigation algorithms for net habitable volume (NHV) metrics on a COTS (commercial off-the-shelf)/existing device in a ground based analog environment.

The specific aims of this project are:

(1) Definition of ISS Integration, Flight Definition, and NHV Model Requirements. This includes the specification of the technical, performance, functional, and operational requirements for the wearable kinematic system associated with ISS integration and analytics for NHV metrics calculation, as well as Flight Experiment Definition planning.

(2) Wearable Kinematic System Design, Development, & Verification. A system architecture trade study and detailed design for the wearable module development, testing to verify the performance in ground-based analog scenarios, and the requirements for transitioning the equipment for ISS spaceflight operations will be completed.

(3) Quantification of ISS NHV Metrics. This aim develops the infrastructure and algorithms for calculating the relevant NHV metrics from the wearable module navigation state vector, including automating the process and providing intuitive visualizations of the data.

This research will address the NASA Human Research Program (HRP) Program Requirements Document (PRD) Risk of Incompatible Vehicle/Habitat Design. The development and implementation of the proposed wearable kinematic system will provide a capability for the Integrated Research Plan (IRP) Gap SHFE-HAB-09 to collect data for the design and assessment of vehicles/habitats. Subsequently, this data will then address Gaps SHFE-HAB-03/05/07 for understanding how astronauts interact with the vehicle/habitat and informing guidelines for determining net habitable volume.

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