• Question: how many suits have desined

    Asked by 277tch48 to Vinita on 21 Jun 2016.
    • Photo: Vinita Marwaha

      Vinita Marwaha answered on 21 Jun 2016:

      I’ve worked on the Gravity Loading Countermeasure Skinsuit that has been used on the ISS by Danish ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen last September and also to be used by French ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet on the ISS at the end of this year.

      The human body has evolved in the presence of Earth’s gravity and without it astronauts on the ISS lose one to two per cent of their bone mass per month, particularly from the crucial weight-bearing spine and lower limb bones. In addition to bone loss, the microgravity conditions and lack of muscle use also cause muscle atrophy. To help to mitigate these debilitating effects of spaceflight, astronauts currently exercise for 2.5 hours each day on the ISS. The Skinsuit was designed to essentially mimic the effects of gravity by replicating adequate mechanical loading on the skeleton and thus preventing the lengthening of the spine. With a force close to that felt on Earth, the suit effectively squeezes an astronaut’s body gradually in hundreds of stages from the shoulders to the feet. Bone responds to loading and the suit’s pressure on the skeleton could help to stimulate bone growth.

      At the European Space Agency’s (ESA) European Astronaut Centre I also focused on spacesuit design & EVA (spacewalk) training for lunar exploration (on the Moon).