Radici Group, an Italian chemical specialist producing high performance engineering polymers and advanced textile solutions, has established a network of Italian textile specialists to create a spacesuit for analogue Mars missions.
The network, headed by Radici and including Eurojersey, Vagotex and Defra, has designed and engineered the spacesuit for the Space Medicine Operations (SMOPS) Mars mission. This endeavor was entirely produced in Italy, and promoted and organized by Mars Planet, the Italian chapter of the Mars Society headquartered in the province of Bergamo, under the patronage of the Italian Space Agency (ASI).
The Group supplied the materials to make the suits for the six analogue astronauts participating in the mission and coordinated the development of the technologies needed to realize technical wear for extreme environmental conditions.
From 10 to 23 April, the spacesuits will be used in a series of experiments carried out at the Mars Desert Research Station in the state of Utah, USA, that will simulate the life and work conditions mission crews will face on the Martian surface.
The team headed by RadiciGroup contributed to the SMOPS mission project by developing and producing three items of technical wear to allow the analogue astronauts to move easily and safely outside the base station, with the support of advanced control, monitoring and communication systems.
Part of the set is also a comfortable flight suit suitable for use during work activities and capable of supporting the analogue astronaut in an environment simulating the Martian atmosphere. Made lighter by eliminating all superstructure, the suit meets both aesthetic and performance needs, as its double-sided stitching allows for reducing thickness to the minimum and improving mobility and lightness by 30%. The garment is completed by wearable technology pockets designed for optimal usage of space and volume.
Furthermore, it has excellent skin contact properties and is designed for maximum comfort and flexible movement, thanks to the elasticity and high breathability of the materials used, mostly nylon. The suit is also dustproof, offers UV protection and ensures good thermal resistance. The latter property is achieved through air trapped in the fabric interstices that flows freely inside a 3D alveolar structure, thus providing a self-regulating body temperature system.