Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 748–756 | Cite as

Textile Damage in Astronaut Gloves

  • D. A. ShockeyEmail author
  • R. S. Piascik
  • B. J. Jensen
  • L. S. Hewes
  • J. K. Sutter
Technical Article---Peer-Reviewed


The ability of protective gloves to resist cutting, tearing, puncture, abrasion, and unraveling is critical for many activities, but particularly for spacewalk activities. Since astronaut safety requires that pressure boundaries not be violated, damage observed in the outer layers of ten gloves after excursions about the International Space Station in 2006 was of great concern. An urgent effort was initiated to determine how and why the damage occurred and how to prevent it in the future. A team of scientists examined the failed fabric, yarns, and fibers of the damaged gloves with high-resolution microscopy and conducted laboratory experiments to produce glove damage under known load conditions. This article describes the damage observations and results of the laboratory tests, deduces how the damage occurred, and presents guidelines for designing gloves that are more damage resistant.


Astronaut gloves Textile damage Vectran® Micrometeorite crater 



This investigation was conducted by the Materials Technical Discipline Team of the NASA Engineering and Safety Center in conjunction with an ongoing Johnson Space Center (JSC) Materials and Process investigation. The authors acknowledge the contributions of Rajib Dasgupta, Richard Watson, and their JSC colleagues, and the expert opinion of James Zheng, U.S. Army.


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    R.S. Piascik, D.A. Shockey, J. Zheng, B.J. Jensen, J.K. Sutter, R. Dasgupata, Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Glove Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment (TMG) Damage, NASA Engineering and Safety Center Technical Assessment Report, NESC-RP-07-074, Oct 2009Google Scholar
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    J.W.S. Hearle, B. Lomas, W.D. Cooke, Atlas of Fibre Fracture and Damage to Textiles, 2nd edn. (CRC Press, Cambridge, 1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    H.-S. Shin, D.C. Erlich, J.W. Simons, D.A. Shockey, Cut Resistance of high-strength yarns. Text. Res. J. 76(8), 607–613 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© ASM International 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. A. Shockey
    • 1
    Email author
  • R. S. Piascik
    • 2
  • B. J. Jensen
    • 2
  • L. S. Hewes
    • 3
  • J. K. Sutter
    • 4
  1. 1.SRI InternationalMenlo ParkUSA
  2. 2.NASA Langley Research CenterHamptonUSA
  3. 3.ILC DoverFredericaUSA
  4. 4.NASA Glenn Research CenterClevelandUSA

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