NASA Space Simulation and Training Project: NEEMO 15

NASA Space Simulation and Training Project: NEEMO 15

Principal Investigator: Bill Todd, NASA-USRA
Training: Oct 10 — 14
Saturation: Oct 20

The crew of NEEMO 15 will leave the comforts of surface life, and immerse themselves in an undersea world of adventure. This will not be a vacation, as nearly every moment of their 13-day mission will be filled with tests and operations, designed to help NASA understand the factors relevant to actual space missions.

Primary objectives are to test the equipment and operational concepts needed for exploration to near-Earth asteroids (NEAs). This near-zero gravity environment presents a unique challenge where anchoring, tethering, and translating devices will be necessary for surface operations. Manned deepwater submersibles acting as Space Exploration Vehicles (SEVs) will interact with Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) crewmembers to test the efficiency of different operations:

• NEA attachment/translation/sampling methods/instrument deployment,

• One SEV vs. none vs. two SEVs on effectiveness/efficiency,

• SEV & EVA crew interactions; tethered, robotic arm, foot restraints,

• Effects of crew size (3 vs. 4) on effectiveness/efficiency, and

• Suit center of gravity (CG)massgravity level research to optimize for flexible missions.

Engineering tests were conducted May 9-13, 2011, at Aquarius. The NEEMO support team performed surface dives to configure and lay out test sites, including a rock wall. All communication systems were tested and preparations made for the main October mission.