University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

UND engineered space suit goes international

Timothy Holland (at left, in spacesuit) and Pablo de Leon

Timothy Holland (at left, in spacesuit) and Pablo de Leon

UND has made big waves globally with its planetary exploration system, dubbed NDX. With funding sources that include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium, the NDX system includes a space suit and wheeled rover. The NDX-2 suit will be connected to the rover by means of a suit port or suit lock assembly.

This year, NDX broke new ground in the attention department with an invitation to be part of the Building Technological Habitats exhibit at the Institute of Modern Art in Valencia (IVAM), Spain. The May-June international exhibit featured far-out technology and designs including FoxLin, Foster and Partners, Gehry Technologies, Hoberman, several groups from NASA—and UND’s own NDX.

The NDX, together with the Portable Life Support System (PLSS) Assembly, and hatches are designed to function cooperatively for relatively rapid coupling and uncoupling of the sealed suit and sealed vehicle. It also works for the coupling and uncoupling of the PLSS assembly and the suit. Lastly, it’s designed to facilitate the transfer of the PLSS assembly and the wearer through the hatch at appropriate phases of operation.

NDX—designed and mostly student-built in the UND Department of Space Studies—is the brainchild of UND senior research associate Pablo de Leon. De Leon, an Argentine aerospace engineer, is the principal investigator for the space suit project and director of the Human Spaceflight Laboratory at the Odegard School.

-- David L. Dodds, media relations/writer and editor, University Relations, 777-5529, david.dodds@und.edu.


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