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Weightless Environment Test Building (WET)

Outline of Weightless Environment Test Building
The Weightless Environment Test System (WETS) is a weightless environment simulator of space by using water buoyancy.

Unfortunately, WETS was heavily damaged due to the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred on March 11, 2011. As the recovery of the pool was proved quite difficult and its expected utilization purposes had been attained, it was disassembled and removed. Since its operations since 1996, WETS was used for design reviews for the Japanese Experiment Module ("Kibo") and the H-II Transfer Vehicle ("KOUNOTORI"), and basic training and simulations of Extravehicular Activity for astronauts. Since 2007, it also was used for promotion of manned space activities.

Weightless Environment Simulation Test / Extravehicular Activity procedure development test
Kibo will be operated in space for more than ten years, and during that period, astronauts will conduct maintenance activities. Especially for the components located outside Kibo, robotics maintenance as well as EVA maintenance will be required. EVA is conducted by an astronaut wearing the space suit. In order to conduct EVA as planned, it is essential to evaluate EVA procedures, tools and aid equipment prior to the actual operation, because of the limited mobility and resources (oxygen, power) of the space suit. By using WETS, EVA simulation test is conducted for those evaluations.

Weightless Environment Simulation Tank
The tank is 16 meters (52 feet) in diameter, and 10.5 meters (34 feet) in depth. The full size Mockup of Kibo could be accommodated in the water.

Water Purification and Water Heating System
This equipment controls water quality and temperature in the tank. It consists of filters, ozonizer, ph control equipment, pumps and a boiler.

Chilled Water Supply Equipment
This equipment supplies chilled water to the test suit for temperature control in the suit.

Breathing Air Supply System
This system supplies breathing air to the test suits as well as to the scuba tanks of the support divers.

Control Room
Control Room
In this room, monitoring and control panels of all equipment, video equipment for monitoring the underwater operations and communications equipment are installed, integrated weightless. Integrated weightless environment simulation test is conducted by using this room.

Test support equipment
Test Support Equipment
Test support equipment includes the donning/doffing station to support testing and training, space suit support equipment, scuba suit dryer, and scuba gear.

Test Suit
The test suit is almost the same as the space suit used on orbit. The back pack (the life support system), and the control panel located in front of the chest are mockups.

Hyperbaric Chamber
This is for emergency hyperbaric treatment for space suit or scuba divers, who suffer decompression sickness. Patients are put inside the chamber to be pressurized and are slowly depressurized to the sea level.

Last Updated : March 17, 2017

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