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Integrated Parabolic Flight Test: Effects of Center of Gravity and Mass on the Biomechanics, Kinematics, and Operator Compensation of Exploration Tasks in Lunar Gravity (IST_C9)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Extravehicular Activity (EVA)
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

This test was a continuation of the testing series, sponsored by the Constellation Program (CxP) EVA Systems Project Office (ESPO) that was conducted to enable development of optimized design requirements for the next-generation lunar extravehicular activity (EVA) suit. The test series was a collaborative effort of the Crew and Thermal Systems Division (CTSD), the EVA Physiology, Systems, and Performance Project (EPSP), the Anthropometry and Biomechanics Facility (ABF), and the Usability Testing and Analysis Facility (UTAF). The investigators’ aim was to understand human performance and suit kinematics under a variety of simulated lunar EVA conditions produced by a parabolic flight aircraft.

This test was designed to provide data to compare with earlier human performance testing on the Space Vehicle Mockup Center’s Partial Gravity Simulator (POGO) and to provide guidance for the design of other reduced-gravity simulator projects such as the Active Response Gravity Offload System (ARGOS). The test was also designed to conduct new research into the effects of varied center of gravity (CG) and varied mass on suited human performance.

The primary objectives of the experiment were as follows :

  1. Compare the test results with a subset of results from previous tests that used the POGO.
  2. Assess how varying the simulated gravity level, while keeping CG and mass constant, affects biomechanics and operator compensation.
  3. Assess how varying the suit mass, while keeping CG and simulated reduced gravity constant, affects biomechanics and operator compensation.
  4. Assess how varying the suit CG, while keeping mass and simulated gravity level constant, affects biomechanics and operator compensation.

Secondary objectives of the experiment were as follows:

  1. Compare the biomechanics and operator compensation of two MKIII suit configurations: nominal and with the waist bearing locked.
  2. Establish a biomechanics and operator compensation baseline for the lunar-gravity shirtsleeve condition for the tasks.

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Chappell SP, Norcross JR, Clowers KG, Clark T, Cowley MS, Harvill L, Desantis L, Morency RM, Vos JR, and Gernhardt ML. Final Report of the Integrated Parabolic Flight Test: Effects of Varying Gravity, Center of Gravity, and Mass on the Movement Biomechanics and Operator Compensation of Ambulation and Exploration Tasks. Houston TX: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center; 2010. NASA Technical Publication NASA/TP-2010-216137.

Norcross JR. Using analogs for performance testing of humans in spacesuits in simulated reduced gravity. Houston TX: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Johnson Space Center. September 24, 2013. NASA Technical Publication NASA/TP-2013-20140002724. [NTRS]

Chappell SP and Gernhardt ML. Extravehicular activity testing in analog environments: evaluating the effects of center of gravity and environment on human performance. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center; 2009. [NTRS]

Extravehicular activity
Task performance and analysis
Gravity, altered

Photo Gallery
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Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. No data sets are available for this experiment. Please Contact LSDA if you know of available data for this investigation.

Acceleration, parabola
Area of base of support
Average speed
Gate cycle
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
EPSP 01/01/2006 09/30/2010 4 years, 9 months

Human Research Program (HRP) Human Research Roadmap (HRR) Information
Crew health and performance is critical to successful human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The Human Research Program (HRP) investigates and mitigates the highest risks to human health and performance, providing essential countermeasures and technologies for human space exploration. Risks include physiological and performance effects from hazards such as radiation, altered gravity, and hostile environments, as well as unique challenges in medical support, human factors, and behavioral health support. The HRP utilizes an Integrated Research Plan (IRP) to identify the approach and research activities planned to address these risks, which are assigned to specific Elements within the program. The Human Research Roadmap is the web-based tool for communicating the IRP content.

The Human Research Roadmap is located at:

+ Click here for information of how this experiment is contributing to the HRP's path for risk reduction.

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Jessica Keune
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)