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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Characterization of the Radiation Shielding Properties of US and Russian EVA Suits


Reported herein are results from the Eril Research, Inc. (ERI) participationin the NASA Johnson Space Center sponsored study characterizing the radiation shielding properties of the two types of space suit that astronauts are wearing during the EVA on-orbit assembly of the International Space Station (ISS). Measurements using passive detectors were carried out to assess the shielding properties of the US EMU Suit and the Russian Orlan-M suit during irradiations of the suits and a tissue equivalent phantom to monoenergetic proton and electron beams at the Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC). During irradiations of 6 MeV electrons and 60 MeV protons, absorbed dose as a function of depth was measured using TLDs exposed behind swatches of the two suit materials and inside the two EVA helmets. Considerable reduction in electron dosewas measured behind all suit materials in exposures to 6 MeV electrons. Slowing of the proton beam in the suit materials led to an increase in dose measured in exposures to 60 MeV protons. During 232 MeV proton irradiations, measurements were made with TLDs and CR-39 PNTDs at five organ locations inside a tissue equivalent phantom, exposed both with and without the two EVA suits. The EVA helmets produce a 13 to 27 percent reduction in total dose and a 0 to 25 percent reduction in dose equivalent when compared to measurements made in the phantom head alone. Differences in dose and dose equivalent between the suit and non-suit irradiations forthe lower portions of the two EVA suits tended to be smaller. Proton-induced target fragmentation was found to be a significant source of increased dose equivalent, especially within the two EVA helmets, and average quality factor inside the EMU and Orlan-M helmets was 2 to 14 percent greater than that measured in the bare phantom head.

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