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Artec 3D reproduces astronaut suits thanks to 3D scanning

Artec 3D reproduces astronaut suits thanks to 3D scanning

October 15, 2019 in Archive, Case study

Artec 3D enhances the technology of all spatial

Recently, Artec 3D employees visited NPP Zvezda, an aerospace company in Russia that produces individual life support systems for pilots and astronauts. The goal was to scan a Sokol-KV-2 space suit, which astronauts wear when they face the highest risk of depressurization. These suits are very light (about 8.5 kg), have been in use since 1979 and to date there has not been a single situation in which they failed. The team of scientists used Artec MHT to obtain a three-dimensional copy of the suit for subsequent integration with a model spacecraft.

The step-by-step process:

An employee wore a space suit and sat in a special device that mimicked a cushioning seat. All in order to best replicate the position of the astronaut during takeoff, landing and other situations where the risk is at its highest.

The space suit was inflated with air until it reached an adequate pressure and it’s time to start scanning. A MHT scanner was used to digitally reproduce the space suit. This specific scanner model is optimal for accurate scanning of medium sized objects and for capturing color data. For further calculations, accuracy during scanning was of utmost importance. If it is not accurate, an astronaut may find himself in a situation of depressurization in space.

The scan of the suit lasted 10 minutes and the process did not present any complications. The employee wearing the space suit had to maintain a fixed position and remain stationary during the process. The 3D model produced with the help of Artec scanners and Artec Studio software will be used in a three-dimensional model of a spacecraft that will then be used to design a new spacecraft. The employees of “Zvezda” believe that 3D technology undoubtedly plays an important role in the development of the space industry.

One of the engineers involved commented: “What we weren’t able to see on paper and in the projects, we were able to see with three-dimensional technology. Working with 3D models is a great help when designing a new space suit”.

The effectiveness of Artec 3D technology and Zvezda’s future projects

The employees of “Zvezda” are considering using 3D scanners for other activities. For example, the possibility of applying this technology to develop custom seating on board a spacecraft (adapted to the body of each astronaut). Making these seats more comfortable is an important task, as it is here that astronauts spend most of their time in space. Thus, by making them more comfortable, astronauts would be able to stay in space for longer.

At present, the custom seating department uses older technology that is reminiscent of that used in the orthopaedic industry. First, an astronaut’s back mould is made, which is then sent to specialists who make the seat with the help of manual measuring instruments. Of course, the desired accuracy is rarely achieved.

In addition, developers and engineers are considering using the scanner to digitize a soft-shell suit. These suits, which are currently under development, will give the wearer more mobility in their arms and hands, making it possible to use a variety of small tools.

The Artec team is proud to have participated in this exciting project and is looking forward to hearing from scientific and research organizations in what other ways 3D technology can be used in the space industry.

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