The well being of the crew can be affected in space under microgravity conditions by the lack of convective and evaporative heat loss. This lack of heat loss can also have an impact on the health and safety of the crew. Microbiological or fungal contamination from clothing could impact the immune system by causing rashes from bacterial or fungal growth. Ground based studies have shown that there can be a rapid rise in core temperatures, in the absence of adequate hydration, due to a circumstances such as high humidity, heavy physical workloads, and fluid loss (sweating). This could result in stress related injuries such as heat strokes. These same events could occur for the crew when performing heavy physical exercise as well as during Extravehicular Activity (EVAs) under microgravity conditions.
To address these issues, Spacetex-2, in a joint endeavor between the Hohenstein Institute and DLR Space Administration, will investigate new Spacetex fabric. The new fabric has enhanced evaporative heat loss and sweat evaporation capabilities and will be worn during the crew’s regular daily sports activities on the ISS. Spacetex-2 is the follow-up project of Spacetex research and builds upon the first initial results and insights gained on the performance of the special fabric and it’s ability to deal with heat and moisture transport under micro-g conditions.
Specifically the research goals are:
Pre- and postflight sessions will be conducted at EAC, Cologne and added to the in-flight data collected. A minimum of 1 astronaut per 2 increments is required for this evaluation. All clothing will be stored in a ziplock bag and returned to Hohenstein for microbiological and odour analysis.
The Spacetex work-out profile is approximately 45 minutes in duration. The clothing will be worn during regular exercise sessions and during at least two exercise periods. It will then be hang up to dry between sessions. The same exercise profile will be used for all pre-/postflight baseline data collection sessions. The crewmember will be instrumented with a Heart Rate (Polar pulse watch) and a COTS body core temperature monitor (3M SpotOnTemperature Monitoring System) for data collection. After the exercises are completed, the crewmember will fill out a short questionnaire comparing the fabrics and indicating overall clothing comfort.
This is an international experiment. NASA does not currently have an agreement with international space partners to archive their data in the LSDA.