EVA Emergency Response Method Analysis – Loss of Communications

During extra-vehicular activities (EVAs) crew members can lose communication between one another and with the habitat. This loss of communication can be potentially dangerous especially for crews ranging far from the habitat with increased habitat response times and lengthy return times to the safety of the habitat. Increase in communication systems is a potential mitigation, but understanding how to respond and the development of response procedures for both EVA and habitat crew may provide insight into future mitigations. This study will require two EVA crew members and a habitat support crew member.  This is a procedural study focused on the development of protocol during loss of communications. While simulating loss of communications EVA crew members will test previously developed hand signals for EVA crew to EVA crew communication in the field. This will be tested on three separate occasions and can be added to previously scheduled EVAs as it requires minimal time to complete. Additionally procedures for loss of communications with the habitat will be tested on three different EVAs and may require additional time or crew for test the habitat crew’s response. Previously decided upon procedures including specific times for loss of communications and protocol to reestablish or locate crew members will be tested. Loss of communication is a common occurrence with analog simulations. Several of the crew members have experience with analog simulations and loss of communication during EVAs. From this experience procedures have been developed and are ready for field testing to determine their viability.

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