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Publication numberUS3636564 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 25, 1972
Filing dateMar 23, 1970
Priority dateMar 23, 1970
Publication numberUS 3636564 A, US 3636564A, US-A-3636564, US3636564 A, US3636564A
InventorsVykukal Hubert C
Original AssigneeNasa
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Space suit having improved waist and torso movement
US 3636564 A
A space suit is provided having improved torso and waist movement. The space suit includes a canted rotary joint near the middle of the torso, said rotary joint being set at an angle of about 30 DEG to horizontal and tilting upwardly from the front. The space suit also preferably includes a double bellows for improved waist action.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)


122 Filed:

' 52 user [United States Patent Y lvyk lkal .WAIST AND TOR-SO Hubert Csvykuknl, Cupertino, Calif. [73 Assignee:. The United States of Ameriea as represented by the National Aeronautics andSpaeeAdministntion Mar. 2 3, I970 zl A lzlmw- 212.1 A s11 Int.Cl Y 2b 11/00 -[58] Field ofSear-eh ..2 2.1 R, 2.1 A, 2.5

[56] v I 1 References Cited 1 UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,329,961 7/1967 Martinez eta]. .,2[2.1R

[451 Jan. 25, 1972 2,967,305 1/1961 White eta] ..2/2.l A

3,405,406 lO/l968- Vykukal ...2/2 1 Primary Examiner-Patrick D. Lawson I Assistant Examiner-Geo. V. Larkin Attorney-Darrell G. Brekke and John R; Manning [57] ABSTRACT A space suit is provided having improved torso and mum movement. The space suit includes a canted rotaryjoint near the middle of the torso. said rotary joint being set at an angle of about 30 to horizontal and tilting upwardly from the front. The space suit also preferably includes a double bellows for improved waist action.

" 5 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJAH 25 I972 SHEET 1 0F 3 HUBERT a' l/W/ ML F I B 3 694M4 6 254A ATTORNEYS PATENTED JAN25I972 3.635554 SHEET 2 or 3 INVENTOR.


2. Description of the Prior Art The closest known prior art is U.S. Pat. No. 3,405,406, dated Oct. I5, 1968 of the present inventor. That patent describes a space suit of superior construction and in FIGS. 16 and 17 of said patent the structure which permits bending at the waist is shown. This includes a bellows which allows maximum frontal bending with less bending to the rear and slight bending to either side. The torso, shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, was inflexible and consisted of hard material with means to attach the top and bottom portions of the space suit together.

Although said structure was a substantial improvement over the prior art and satisfactory for many purposes, the torso structure allowed only movements in which the shoulders were kept parallel with the ground, thus eliminating or making difficult many natural bending motions in which one shoulder drops while the other may rise slightly, such as in picking an article from the ground with one hand. The use of the single bellows in the waist resulted in only a single pivot point for the suit, which does not conform very well to thenatural curvature of the spine which tends to bend or pivot at a number of points.

In accordance with the present invention, these disadvantages are obviated by providing a canted rotating joint at about the middle of the torso, said joint being set at an angle of about 30 to the horizontal with the low point of the rotary joint to the front of the wearer.

A double bellows arrangement may also be provided which provides a more natural back movement. Although the rotary joint can be used in space suits of other designs, it is particularly advantageous when combined with the double bellows, since in this manner many bending, stooping and relaxing motions are possible which would be difficult or strained in a suit of more conventional design.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The space suit shown in the previous patent of the present inventor namely U.S. Pat. No. 3,405,406, provides for bending at the waist through a single bellows arrangement which somewhat restricts the motion of the wearer. Since there is only one pivot point, the suit does not conform well to a normal wearer since the human spine tends to bend and pivot at a number of points. Further, since there was limited side move ment, many stooping motions wherein one would normally bring one shoulder lower than the other become awkward.

By providing a canted rotating joint set at an angle of about 30 in the present suit, many torso motions are facilitated since if the wearer twists in one direction, that particular shoulder is automatically raised somewhat which conforms with a normal body movement. Another advantage of the rotary joint is that it provides a metal ring so that a circular fastening can be combined with the rotary joint, making it easy to don the suit and take it off as well as facilitating the fabrication of the suit.

Preferably combined with the rotary joint is a double bellows arrangement and, although the rotary joint can be used without the double bellows, the use of the two together is highly advantageous. The bellows joints are preferably of the constant volume type as is hereinafter described in detail so that a minimum amount of effort is used either to bend or to straighten up.

Thus, the operation of the double bellows and bearing is similar in principle to the operation of the bellows described in the above identified patent, but the placement is such that the range of movements allowed by the suit is increased as is the comfort of the wearer. By providing two pivot points at the waist instead of one, the suit is made more flexible and more closely approximates the curvature of the back. The use of the torso bearing results in a suit in which the wearer may make lateral chest movements and other motions requiring relative movement of the shoulders. The angle of the bearing is not critical within certain limits and it can vary from about 25 to 35 and preferably is about 30.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side view of a suit embodying the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a front view of the suit shown in FIG. I.

FIG. 3 is a sectional view on the line 3-3 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged side view, partly in section, of the torso portion of the suit.

FIG. 5 is a section on the line 55 of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is an enlarged side view of the joint structure for the double bellows.

FIG. 7 is an enlarged section on the line 7-7 of FIG. 2, showing the structure of the rotating joint and attaching assembly.

FIG. 8 is a partial front view showing the manner in which the suit permits one shoulder to rise as the torso is turned, thus following a natural body movement.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view showing the manner in which the suit permits a bending movement with one hand lower than the other as in picking up an object off the ground.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to the drawings by reference characters, there is shown a space suit having an upper torso portion generally designated 10 and a lower torso portion generally designated 12 joined together by a rotary joint and torso disconnect assembly 14. The space suit includes a pelvic section generally designated 16 which includes an upper bellows section 18 and a lower bellows section 20 joined together by an intermediate portion 22. As is shown in the drawings, the space suit also includes the usual arm and leg sections but these form no part of the present invention and are included only for the sake of completeness. Therefore, they are not described in detail.

The crux of the present invention involves the use of a rotary bearing which is canted to connect the upper and lower torso portions. The exact angle of the cant is not critical but good results have been obtained wherein the angle is about 30 to the horizon when the suit is in an upright position and generally speaking one can vary this angle from about 25 to about 35 while maintaining maximum efficiency. Even greater departures from the 30 angle can be made with some loss of flexibility in the suit.

Preferably, the torso disconnect assembly is connected directly to one half of the rotary bearing since this facilitates manufacture and also decreases the number of connections which must be made between the material of the suit and the material of the bearing and/or disconnect joint in comparison with fabricating the two units separately.

The exact structure of the rotary joint is quite similar to that described in the above identified U.S. Pat. No. 3,405,406 and is shown in detail in FIG. 7 together with the disconnect mechanisms. Assembly 14 consists of three main parts namely, the rotating seal structure 24, an upper disconnect section 26 and a lower disconnect section 28.

The rotary bearing structure 24 includes a metal inner race 30, a metal outer race 32 and a plurality of metal balls 34. The outer race 32 is held in an outer ring support 36 while the inner race is fastened to a similar support 38. The outer support 36 is attached to a ring 40 which forms part of the connection assembly and is described in detail later. The inner support is provided with a threadably mounted retainer 42 and the inner support is bonded to the body material 44A of the upper torso portion of the suit by suitable means such as an epoxy resin. The outer support 36 has attached thereto a ring 46 of a suitable material, such as an inert plastic, while a corresponding wiping seal 48 of a similar plastic is held between 3 the inner race 30 and the retaining member 38. In assembling the device, O-rings as at- 50 and 52 are employed to make a fluidtight connection. It, will be seen that since the pressure side of the suit is to the left in FIG. 7, the pressure will tend to cause the wiper seal 48 to bear against the ring 46, allowing turning movement yet providing a substantially gastight seal.

As was previously mentioned, it is preferable to fabricate the canted, rotating bearing and disconnect as a single unit so that only two connections need to be made to the body material of the suit. The disconnect illustrated is of the locking cam type wherein rotating one portion a few degrees, as is illustrated diagrammatically in FIG. 3, locks or unlocks the connection. The exact mechanism forms no part of the present invention and is therefore not described in great detail. Thus, the member 40, which was previously described in conjunction with the outer race assembly, has downwardly extending portion 54, having a peripheral notch 56 therein. The lower portion 28 of the disconnect meshes outside the depending portion 54'and has a sliding key 58 with a locking pin 60, the key engaging in the ledge 56 and holding the portions together. A gasket 62 is provided which is attached to the lower portion of the disconnect ring and engages the downwardly extending portion 54 of the upper portion of the disconnect ring. The shape of the gasket is such that an increase pressure from the inside of the suit, i.e., from the left in FIG. 7, tends to force the gasket further into position and increases the effectiveness of the seal. The lower portion of the member 28 is fastened to the body material 448 in any suitable manner as by the use of an epoxy resin.

It can be seen that the canted rotating bearing provides for a rotating torso motion and at the same time as the torso is rotated, the shoulder portion is raised on that side towards which the wearer faces, as is shown in FIG. 8, producing a very natural movement.

Preferably, the canted rotating joint is combined with a double bellows for the pelvic portion of the suit and this is shown in detail in FIGS. 4 through 6. Each of the bellows of the present suit is provided with connecting links and these each consist of a relatively short end link section rigidly connected to respective solid portions of the suit with a midlink provided with pivot members on each end thereof, linking the two end links. In this way, a constant volume joint is provided so that the bellows are stable in either the deflected or undeflected positions. Thus the wearer is not required to do any work against air pressure in either straightening or bending the joint. However, there is some natural spring force in the bellows and this can be offset by the proper selection of the percentage of midlink length as is well known to those skilled in the art.

The upper link generally designated 64 has an enlarged shoulder portion 66 and a flat link portion 70. The shoulder portion 66 is attached to the material 448 of the suit by suitable means such as the screws 68 or it can also be attached by means of an epoxy cement or a combination of the two. The flat link portion 70 extends downwardly from the shoulder and has a suitable hole for receiving the pivot pin 72 which connects it to the upper midlink 74. The center link 76 has a similar shoulder and has line section 78 extending upwardly and link section 80 extending downwardly. The shoulder is attached to the midpelvic section 44C of the suit. The bottom link member 82 is a similar structure and is pivoted to the bottom midlink 84 and attached to the bottom pelvic section 44D of the suit. It will be seen that the top attachment shoulder is arranged vertically while the bottom shoulder is arranged horizontally but this is merely a matter of design and both attachment members could be horizontal or vertical or their positions could be reversed. The bellows 86 and 88 are fabricated of metal and attached to the adjacent body sections by suitable adhesive.

The action of the links can be seen in detail in FIG. 4 where the solid lines show the suit erect and the dot dash lines shows the suit in a bending movement. As can be seen, by the use of the double bellows each of which has the midlink arran ement, there actually four pivot points as the wearer ben s.

Thus, the action of the human spine is duplicated quite closely producing a much more natural action and allowing greater freedom of motion.

This action is also shown in FIG. 9 where the wearer is bending over as if to pick an object off the ground with the right hand. Here the double bellows has allowed a natural bending motion while at the same time the canted rotary joint has permitted the wearer to lower his right shoulder by twisting his torso to the left, producing a very natural movement.

Certain details of construction have been omitted from the description of the present suitsince these are the same as disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,405,406 and reference is made to said patent for any details not disclosed herein.

' Although the present invention is shown as applied to a hard suit,.this is for illustrative purposes only and it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that the invention is equally applicable to soft space suits.

It is believed apparent that a space suit has been provided having increased ease of fabrication as well as providing greater comfort and freedom of movement to the wearer.

I claim:

I. In a space suit having a torso portion the improvement comprising a divided torso having an upper torso portion, a lower torso portion, and a rotary joint joining said upper and lower torso portions, the plane of the joint being canted with the lowest portion of the joint to the front of the wearer.

2. The structure of claim 1 wherein the joint is canted at an angle of from 25 to 35 from horizontal when the wearer of the suit is in a vertical position.

3. The structure of claim 2 wherein the angle is about 30.

4. The structure of claim 1 wherein the rotary joint includes rotating cam disconnect means whereby the upper and lower torso portions etc.

5. The structure of claim 1 wherein the lower torso portion of the space suit is further divided into a midpelvic section and a bottom pelvic section with a first bellows means connecting the lower torso portion with the midpelvic section and with a second bellows means connecting the midpelvic section with the bottom pelvic section.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2967305 *Mar 25, 1959Jan 10, 1961George J ScottFull pressure flight suit
US3329967 *Mar 31, 1965Jul 11, 1967Martinez Henry JDiving suit
US3405406 *Jul 19, 1966Oct 15, 1968Nasa UsaHard space suit
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4091464 *Dec 23, 1976May 30, 1978The United States Of America As Represented By The Administrator Of The National Aeronautics And Space AdministrationSpacesuit mobility joints
US4091465 *Mar 23, 1977May 30, 1978The United States Of America As Represented By The Administrator Of The National Aeronautics And Space AdministrationSpacesuit torso closure
US4151612 *Mar 3, 1978May 1, 1979The United States Of America As Represented By The Administrator Of The National Aeronautics And Space AdministrationSpacesuit mobility knee joints
US4593415 *Dec 20, 1984Jun 10, 1986The United States Of America As Represented By The Administrator Of The National Aeronautics And Space AdministrationTorso sizing ring construction for hard space suit
US4596054 *Jul 3, 1984Jun 24, 1986Air-Lock, IncorporatedPressure sealing bearing assembly for use in environmental control suits and environmental suits containing such bearing assemblies
US4842224 *Oct 20, 1987Jun 27, 1989The United States Of American As Represented By The Administrator, National Aeronautics And Space AdministrationSuitport extra-vehicular access facility
US5068919 *Jul 17, 1990Dec 3, 1991Air-Lock, IncorporatedSpacesuit sizing system
US5163183 *Dec 2, 1991Nov 17, 1992Smith Peggy VFireman suit
US5697108 *Sep 30, 1996Dec 16, 1997The United States Of America As Represented By The Administrator Of The National Aeronautics And Space AdministrationSuitlock docking mechanism
US6158050 *Dec 15, 1998Dec 12, 2000Air-Lock, IncorporatedSpacesuit sizing and tension relief bearing
US20120260388 *Jul 5, 2011Oct 18, 2012Thomas Kenneth SHard upper torso for rear entry suit
U.S. Classification2/2.12, 2/2.13
International ClassificationB64G6/00
Cooperative ClassificationB64G6/00
European ClassificationB64G6/00