Space suit

Space suit

Overview
A space suit is a garment worn to keep an astronaut
Astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

 alive in the harsh environment (vacuum
Vacuum
In everyday usage, vacuum is a volume of space that is essentially empty of matter, such that its gaseous pressure is much less than atmospheric pressure. The word comes from the Latin term for "empty". A perfect vacuum would be one with no particles in it at all, which is impossible to achieve in...

 and temperature extremes) of outer space
Outer space
Outer space is the void that exists between celestial bodies, including the Earth. It is not completely empty, but consists of a hard vacuum containing a low density of particles: predominantly a plasma of hydrogen and helium, as well as electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, and neutrinos....

. Space suits are often worn inside spacecraft
Spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

 as a safety precaution in case of loss of cabin pressure, and are necessary for extra-vehicular activity
Extra-vehicular activity
Extra-vehicular activity is work done by an astronaut away from the Earth, and outside of a spacecraft. The term most commonly applies to an EVA made outside a craft orbiting Earth , but also applies to an EVA made on the surface of the Moon...

 (EVA), work done outside spacecraft. Space suits have been worn for such work in Earth orbit, on the surface of the Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

, and en route back to Earth from the Moon.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Space suit'
Start a new discussion about 'Space suit'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
A space suit is a garment worn to keep an astronaut
Astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

 alive in the harsh environment (vacuum
Vacuum
In everyday usage, vacuum is a volume of space that is essentially empty of matter, such that its gaseous pressure is much less than atmospheric pressure. The word comes from the Latin term for "empty". A perfect vacuum would be one with no particles in it at all, which is impossible to achieve in...

 and temperature extremes) of outer space
Outer space
Outer space is the void that exists between celestial bodies, including the Earth. It is not completely empty, but consists of a hard vacuum containing a low density of particles: predominantly a plasma of hydrogen and helium, as well as electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, and neutrinos....

. Space suits are often worn inside spacecraft
Spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

 as a safety precaution in case of loss of cabin pressure, and are necessary for extra-vehicular activity
Extra-vehicular activity
Extra-vehicular activity is work done by an astronaut away from the Earth, and outside of a spacecraft. The term most commonly applies to an EVA made outside a craft orbiting Earth , but also applies to an EVA made on the surface of the Moon...

 (EVA), work done outside spacecraft. Space suits have been worn for such work in Earth orbit, on the surface of the Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

, and en route back to Earth from the Moon. Modern space suits augment the basic pressure garment with a complex system of equipment and environmental systems designed to keep the wearer comfortable, and to minimize the effort required to bend the limbs, resisting a soft pressure garment's natural tendency to stiffen against the vacuum. A self-contained oxygen supply and environmental control system is frequently employed to allow complete freedom of movement, independent of the spacecraft.

Some of these requirements also apply to pressure suit
Pressure suit
A pressure suit is a protective suit worn by high-altitude pilots who may fly at altitudes where the air pressure is too low for an unprotected person to survive, even breathing pure oxygen at positive pressure. Such suits may be either full-pressure or partial-pressure...

s worn for other specialized tasks, such as high-altitude reconnaissance flight. Above Armstrong's Line
Armstrong Limit
The Armstrong limit, often called Armstrong's line, is the altitude that produces an atmospheric pressure so low that water boils at the normal temperature of the human body: 37 °C . It is named after Harry George Armstrong, who founded the U.S. Air Force’s Department of Space Medicine in...

 (around 19000 m (62,336 ft)), the atmosphere is so thin that pressurized suits are needed.

The first full pressure-suits for use at extreme altitudes were designed by individual inventors as early as the 1930s. The first space suit worn by a human in space was the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 SK-1
SK-1 spacesuit
SK-1 is an initialism of "Skafandr Kosmicheskiy" # 1 is a spacesuit that was developed specially for Yuri Gagarin. As such, it is the first spacesuit ever used...

 suit worn by Yuri Gargarin in 1961.

Spacesuit requirements



A space suit must perform several functions to allow its occupant to work safely and comfortably, inside or outside of a spacecraft
Spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

. It must provide:
  • A stable internal pressure
    Pressure
    Pressure is the force per unit area applied in a direction perpendicular to the surface of an object. Gauge pressure is the pressure relative to the local atmospheric or ambient pressure.- Definition :...

    . This can be less than earth's atmosphere, as there is usually no need for the spacesuit to carry nitrogen (which comprises about 78% of earth's atmosphere and is not used by the body). Lower pressure allows for greater mobility, but requires the suit occupant to breathe pure oxygen for a time before going into this lower pressure, to avoid decompression sickness
    Decompression sickness
    Decompression sickness describes a condition arising from dissolved gases coming out of solution into bubbles inside the body on depressurization...

    .
  • Mobility. Movement is typically opposed by the pressure of the suit; mobility is achieved by careful joint design. See the Theories of spacesuit design section.
  • Supply of breathable oxygen
    Oxygen
    Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

     and elimination of carbon dioxide
    Carbon dioxide
    Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

    ; these gases are exchanged with the spacecraft or a portable life support system
    Primary Life Support System
    A Primary Life Support System , is a device connected to an astronaut's or cosmonaut's spacesuit, which allows extra-vehicular activity with maximum freedom, independent of a spacecraft's life support system. The PLSS is generally worn like a backpack...

     (PLSS)
  • Temperature
    Temperature
    Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...

     regulation. Unlike on Earth, where heat can be transferred by convection
    Convection
    Convection is the movement of molecules within fluids and rheids. It cannot take place in solids, since neither bulk current flows nor significant diffusion can take place in solids....

     to the atmosphere, in space, heat can be lost only by thermal radiation
    Thermal radiation
    Thermal radiation is electromagnetic radiation generated by the thermal motion of charged particles in matter. All matter with a temperature greater than absolute zero emits thermal radiation....

     or by conduction
    Heat conduction
    In heat transfer, conduction is a mode of transfer of energy within and between bodies of matter, due to a temperature gradient. Conduction means collisional and diffusive transfer of kinetic energy of particles of ponderable matter . Conduction takes place in all forms of ponderable matter, viz....

     to objects in physical contact with the exterior of the suit. Since the temperature on the outside of the suit varies greatly between sunlight and shadow, the suit is heavily insulated, and air temperature is maintained at a comfortable level.
  • A communication system, with external electrical connection to the spacecraft or PLSS
  • Means of collecting and containing solid and liquid waste (such as a Maximum Absorbency Garment
    Maximum Absorbency Garment
    A Maximum Absorbency Garment is a piece of clothing NASA astronauts wear during liftoff, landing, and extra-vehicular activity to absorb urine and feces. It is worn by both male and female astronauts. Astronauts can urinate into the MAG, and usually wait to defecate when they return to the...

    )

Optional requirements

  • Advanced suits better regulate the astronaut's temperature with a Liquid Cooling Garment
    Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garment
    A Liquid Cooling Garment is a form-fitting garment that is used to remove body heat from the wearer in environments where evaporative cooling from sweating and open air convection cooling does not work, or the wearer has a biological problem that hinders self-regulation of body temperature.A...

     in contact with the astronaut's skin, from which the heat is dumped into space through an external radiator in the PLSS.


Additional requirements for EVA include:
  • Shielding against ultraviolet radiation
  • Limited shielding against particle radiation
    Particle radiation
    Particle radiation is the radiation of energy by means of fast-moving subatomic particles. Particle radiation is referred to as a particle beam if the particles are all moving in the same direction, similar to a light beam....

  • Means to maneuver, dock, release, and/or tether onto a spacecraft
  • Protection against small micrometeoroid
    Micrometeoroid
    A micrometeoroid is a tiny meteoroid; a small particle of rock in space, usually weighing less than a gram. A micrometeor or micrometeorite is such a particle that enters the Earth's atmosphere or falls to Earth.-Scientific interest:...

    s, some traveling at up to 27,000 kilometers per hour, provided by a puncture-resistant Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment
    Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment
    An Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment is the outer layer of a space suit. The TMG has three functions: to insulate the suit occupant and prevent heat loss, to shield the occupant from harmful solar radiation, and to protect the astronaut from micrometeoroids and other orbital debris, which could...

    , which is the outermost layer of the suit. Experience has shown the greatest chance of exposure occurs near the gravitational field of a moon or planet, so these were first employed on the Apollo lunar EVA suits (see American suit models below.)


As part of astronautical hygiene
Astronautical hygiene
Astronautical hygiene is the application of science and technology to the recognition and evaluation of hazards, and the prevention or control of risks to health, while working in low-gravity environments....

 control (i.e., protecting astronauts from extremes of temperature, radiation, etc.), a spacesuit is essential for extravehicular activity. The Apollo/Skylab A7L
Apollo/Skylab A7L
The A7L Apollo & Skylab spacesuit is the primary pressure suit worn by NASA astronauts for Project Apollo, the three manned Skylab flights, and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project between 1968 and the termination of the Apollo program in 1975. The "A7L" designation is used by NASA as the seventh Apollo...

 suit included eleven layers in all: an inner liner, a liquid cooling and ventilation garment
Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garment
A Liquid Cooling Garment is a form-fitting garment that is used to remove body heat from the wearer in environments where evaporative cooling from sweating and open air convection cooling does not work, or the wearer has a biological problem that hinders self-regulation of body temperature.A...

, a pressure bladder, a restraint layer, another liner, and a thermal micrometeoroid garment
Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment
An Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment is the outer layer of a space suit. The TMG has three functions: to insulate the suit occupant and prevent heat loss, to shield the occupant from harmful solar radiation, and to protect the astronaut from micrometeoroids and other orbital debris, which could...

 consisting of five aluminized insulation layers and an external layer of white Ortho-Fabric. This spacesuit is capable of protecting the astronaut from temperatures ranging from -156 °C to +121 °C.

It is expected that manned exploration of the Moon and Mars will occur within the next two decades. During exploration, there will be the potential for lunar/Martian dust to be retained on the spacesuit. When the spacesuit is removed on return to the spacecraft, there will be the potential for the dust to contaminate surfaces and increase the risks of inhalation and skin exposure. Astronautical hygienists are testing materials with reduced dust retention times and the potential to control the dust exposure risks during planetary exploration. Novel ingress/egress approaches, such as suitport
Suitport
A suitport or suitlock is a proposed alternative to an airlock, designed for use in hazardous environments and in human spaceflight, especially planetary surface exploration.-Operation:...

s, are being explored as well.

In NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 spacesuits, communications are provided via a cap worn over the head, which includes earphones and a microphone. Due to the coloration of the version used for Apollo and Skylab
Skylab
Skylab was a space station launched and operated by NASA, the space agency of the United States. Skylab orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979, and included a workshop, a solar observatory, and other systems. It was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket, with a mass of...

, which resembled the coloration of the comic strip character Snoopy
Snoopy
Snoopy is an fictional character in the long-running comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. He is Charlie Brown's pet beagle. Snoopy began his life in the strip as a fairly conventional dog, but eventually evolved into perhaps the strip's most dynamic character—and among the most recognizable...

, these caps became known as "Snoopy caps".

Operating pressure



Generally, to supply enough oxygen for respiration
Respiratory system
The respiratory system is the anatomical system of an organism that introduces respiratory gases to the interior and performs gas exchange. In humans and other mammals, the anatomical features of the respiratory system include airways, lungs, and the respiratory muscles...

, a spacesuit using pure oxygen must have a pressure of about 32.4 kPa (243 Torr; 4.7 psi), equal to the 20.7 kPa (155.3 Torr; 3 psi) partial pressure
Partial pressure
In a mixture of ideal gases, each gas has a partial pressure which is the pressure which the gas would have if it alone occupied the volume. The total pressure of a gas mixture is the sum of the partial pressures of each individual gas in the mixture....

 of oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere
Earth's atmosphere
The atmosphere of Earth is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention , and reducing temperature extremes between day and night...

 at sea level, plus 5.3 kPa (39.8 Torr; 0.76870000998888 psi) and 6.3 kPa (47.3 Torr; 0.91373774772263 psi) water vapor
Water vapor
Water vapor or water vapour , also aqueous vapor, is the gas phase of water. It is one state of water within the hydrosphere. Water vapor can be produced from the evaporation or boiling of liquid water or from the sublimation of ice. Under typical atmospheric conditions, water vapor is continuously...

 pressure, both of which must be subtracted from the alveolar pressure
Pulmonary gas pressures
The factors that determine the values for alveolar PO2 and PCO2 are:*The pressure of outside air*The partial pressures of inspired oxygen and carbon dioxide*The rates of total body oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production...

 to get alveolar oxygen partial pressure in 100% oxygen atmospheres, by the alveolar gas equation
Alveolar gas equation
The partial pressure of oxygen in the pulmonary alveoli is required to calculate both the alveolar-arterial gradient of oxygen and the amount of right-to-left cardiac shunt, which are both clinically useful quantities. However it is not practical to take a sample of gas from the alveoli in order...

. The latter two figures add to 11.6 kPa (87 Torr, 1.7 psi), which is why many modern spacesuits do not use 20.7 kPa (155.3 Torr; 3 psi), but 32.4 kPa (243 Torr; 4.7 psi) (this is a slight overcorrection, as alveolar partial pressures at sea level are slightly less than the former). In spacesuits that use 20.7 kPa, the astronaut gets only 20.7 kPa − 11.7 kPa = 9 kPa (67.5 Torr; 1.3 psi) of oxygen, which is about the alveolar oxygen partial pressure attained at an altitude of 1860 m (6,102.4 ft) above sea level. This is about 78% of normal sea level pressure, about the same as pressure in a commercial passenger jet aircraft, and is the realistic lower limit for safe ordinary space suit pressurization which allows reasonable capacity for work.

When space suits below a specific operating pressure are used from craft that are pressurized to normal atmospheric pressure (such as the space shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

), this requires astronauts to "pre-breathe" (meaning pre-breathe pure oxygen for a period) before donning their suits and depressurizing in the air lock. This procedure purges the body of dissolved nitrogen, so as to avoid decompression sickness
Decompression sickness
Decompression sickness describes a condition arising from dissolved gases coming out of solution into bubbles inside the body on depressurization...

 ("the bends") due to overrapid depressurization from a nitrogen-containing atmosphere.

Exposure to space without a spacesuit


The human body can briefly survive the hard vacuum
Vacuum
In everyday usage, vacuum is a volume of space that is essentially empty of matter, such that its gaseous pressure is much less than atmospheric pressure. The word comes from the Latin term for "empty". A perfect vacuum would be one with no particles in it at all, which is impossible to achieve in...

 of space unprotected, despite contrary depictions in some popular science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

. Human flesh expands to about twice its size in such conditions, giving the visual effect of a body builder rather than an overfilled balloon. Consciousness is retained for up to 15 seconds as the effects of oxygen starvation
Hypoxia (medical)
Hypoxia, or hypoxiation, is a pathological condition in which the body as a whole or a region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply. Variations in arterial oxygen concentrations can be part of the normal physiology, for example, during strenuous physical exercise...

 set in. No snap freeze effect occurs because all heat must be lost through thermal radiation
Thermal radiation
Thermal radiation is electromagnetic radiation generated by the thermal motion of charged particles in matter. All matter with a temperature greater than absolute zero emits thermal radiation....

 or the evaporation
Evaporation
Evaporation is a type of vaporization of a liquid that occurs only on the surface of a liquid. The other type of vaporization is boiling, which, instead, occurs on the entire mass of the liquid....

 of liquids, and the blood does not boil because it remains pressurized within the body. The greatest danger is in attempting to hold one's breath before exposure, as the subsequent explosive decompression can damage the lungs. These effects have been confirmed through various accidents (including in very high altitude conditions, outer space and training vacuum chambers). Human skin does not need to be protected from vacuum and is gas-tight by itself. Instead it only needs to be mechanically compressed to retain its normal shape. This can be accomplished with a tight-fitting elastic body suit and a helmet for containing breathing gas
Breathing gas
Breathing gas is a mixture of gaseous chemical elements and compounds used for respiration.Air is the most common and only natural breathing gas...

es, known as a Space activity suit
Space activity suit
A space activity suit or mechanical counterpressure suit is an experimental spacesuit which applies stable pressure against the skin by means of skintight elastic garments. The SAS is not inflated like a conventional spacesuit: it uses mechanical pressure, rather than air pressure, to compress the...

.

Theories of spacesuit design


A space suit should allow its user natural unencumbered movement. Nearly all designs try to maintain a constant volume no matter what movements the wearer makes. This is because mechanical work
Mechanical work
In physics, work is a scalar quantity that can be described as the product of a force times the distance through which it acts, and it is called the work of the force. Only the component of a force in the direction of the movement of its point of application does work...

 is needed to change the volume of a constant pressure system. If flexing a joint reduces the volume of the spacesuit, then the astronaut must do extra work every time he bends that joint, and he has to maintain a force to keep the joint bent. Even if this force is very small, it can be seriously fatiguing to constantly fight against one's suit. It also makes delicate movements very difficult. The work required to bend a joint is dictated by the formula


where Vi and Vf are respectively the initial and final volume of the joint, P is the pressure in the suit, and W is the resultant work. It is generally true that all suits are more mobile at lower pressures. However, because a minimum internal pressure is dictated by life support requirements, the only means of further reducing work is to minimize the change in volume.

All space suit designs try to minimize or eliminate this problem. The most common solution is to form the suit out of multiple layers. The bladder layer is a rubbery, airtight layer much like a balloon. The restraint layer goes outside the bladder, and provides a specific shape for the suit. Since the bladder layer is larger than the restraint layer, the restraint takes all of the stresses caused by the pressure inside the suit. Since the bladder is not under pressure, it will not "pop" like a balloon, even if punctured. The restraint layer is shaped in such a way that bending a joint causes pockets of fabric, called "gores", to open up on the outside of the joint, while folds called "convolutes" fold up on the inside of the joint. The gores make up for the volume lost on the inside of the joint, and keep the suit at a nearly constant volume. However, once the gores are opened all the way, the joint cannot be bent any further without a considerable amount of work.

In some Russian space suits, strips of cloth were wrapped tightly around the cosmonaut's arms and legs outside the spacesuit to stop the spacesuit from ballooning when in space.

The outermost layer of a space suit, the Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment
Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment
An Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment is the outer layer of a space suit. The TMG has three functions: to insulate the suit occupant and prevent heat loss, to shield the occupant from harmful solar radiation, and to protect the astronaut from micrometeoroids and other orbital debris, which could...

, provides thermal insulation, protection from micrometeoroid
Micrometeoroid
A micrometeoroid is a tiny meteoroid; a small particle of rock in space, usually weighing less than a gram. A micrometeor or micrometeorite is such a particle that enters the Earth's atmosphere or falls to Earth.-Scientific interest:...

s, and shielding from harmful solar radiation.

There are four theoretical approaches to suit design:

Soft suits


Soft suits typically are made mostly of fabrics. All soft suits have some hard parts, some even have hard joint bearings. Intra-vehicular activity and early EVA suits were soft suits.

Hard-shell suits


Hard-shell suits are usually made of metal or composite materials and do not use fabric for joints. Hard suits joints use ball bearings and wedge-ring segments similar to an adjustable elbow of a stove pipe to allow a wide range of movement with the arms and legs. The joints maintain a constant volume of air internally and do not have any counter force. Therefore, the astronaut does not need to exert to hold the suit in any position. Hard suits can also operate at higher pressures which would eliminate the need for an astronaut to pre-breath oxygen to use a 5.0 PSI space suit before an EVA from the 14.7 PSI space shuttle as astronauts currently do. The joints may get into a restricted or locked position requiring the astronaut to manipulate or program the joint. The Nasa Ames AX5 suit had a flexibility rating of 95%. The wearer could move into 95% of the positions he or she could while nude.

Hybrid suits


Hybrid suits have hard-shell parts and fabric parts. NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

's Extravehicular Mobility Unit
Extravehicular Mobility Unit
The Space Shuttle/International Space Station Extravehicular Mobility Unit is an independent anthropomorphic system that provides environmental protection, mobility, life support, and communications for a Space Shuttle or International Space Station crew member to perform extra-vehicular activity...

 uses a fiberglass Hard Upper Torso
Hard Upper Torso
A Hard Upper Torso Assembly, or HUT, is a central component of several space suits, notably Roscosmos' Orlan and NASA's Extravehicular Mobility Unit . The fiberglass HUT forms a rigid enclosure about the upper body of the occupant, providing pressure containment for this part of the body...

 (HUT) and fabric limbs. ILC Dover
ILC Dover
ILC Dover, LP is an engineering development and manufacturing company based in Frederica, Delaware. ILC specializes in the use of high-performance flexible materials, serving the aerospace, personal protection, and pharmaceutical industries.Best known for making space suits for NASA, ILC...

's I-Suit
I-Suit
The I-Suit is a spacesuit model constructed by ILC Dover. The suit began as an EVA mobility demonstrator, developed to meet a contract awarded by NASA to ILC in 1997 for an all-soft suit....

 replaces the hard upper torso with a fabric soft upper torso to save weight, restricting the use of hard components to the joint bearings, helmet, waist seal, and rear entry hatch. Virtually all workable spacesuit designs incorporate hard components, particularly at interfaces such as the waist seal, bearings, and in the case of rear-entry suits, the back hatch, where all-soft alternatives are not viable.

Skintight suits


Skintight suits, also known as mechanical counterpressure suits or space activity suit
Space activity suit
A space activity suit or mechanical counterpressure suit is an experimental spacesuit which applies stable pressure against the skin by means of skintight elastic garments. The SAS is not inflated like a conventional spacesuit: it uses mechanical pressure, rather than air pressure, to compress the...

s, are a proposed design which would use a heavy elastic body stocking to compress the body. The head is in a pressurized helmet, but the rest of the body is pressurized only by the elastic effect of the suit. This eliminates the constant volume problem, reduces the possibility of a space suit depressurization and gives a very lightweight suit. However, these suits are very difficult to put on and face problems with providing a constant pressure everywhere. Most proposals use the body's natural sweat
SWEAT
SWEAT is an OLN/TSN show hosted by Julie Zwillich that aired in 2003-2004.Each of the 13 half-hour episodes of SWEAT features a different outdoor sport: kayaking, mountain biking, ice hockey, beach volleyball, soccer, windsurfing, rowing, Ultimate, triathlon, wakeboarding, snowboarding, telemark...

 to keep cool.

Contributing technologies



Related preceding technologies include the gas mask
Gas mask
A gas mask is a mask put on over the face to protect the wearer from inhaling airborne pollutants and toxic gases. The mask forms a sealed cover over the nose and mouth, but may also cover the eyes and other vulnerable soft tissues of the face. Some gas masks are also respirators, though the word...

 used in WWII
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the oxygen mask
Oxygen mask
An oxygen mask provides a method to transfer breathing oxygen gas from a storage tank to the lungs. Oxygen masks may cover the nose and mouth or the entire face...

 used by pilots of high flying bombers in WWII, the high altitude or vacuum
Vacuum
In everyday usage, vacuum is a volume of space that is essentially empty of matter, such that its gaseous pressure is much less than atmospheric pressure. The word comes from the Latin term for "empty". A perfect vacuum would be one with no particles in it at all, which is impossible to achieve in...

 suit required by pilots of the Lockheed U-2
Lockheed U-2
The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed "Dragon Lady", is a single-engine, very high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency . It provides day and night, very high-altitude , all-weather intelligence gathering...

 and SR-71 Blackbird
SR-71 Blackbird
The Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird" was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft. It was developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s by the Lockheed Skunk Works. Clarence "Kelly" Johnson was responsible for many of the...

, the diving suit
Diving suit
A diving suit is a garment or device designed to protect a diver from the underwater environment. A diving suit typically also incorporates an air-supply .-History:...

, rebreather
Rebreather
A rebreather is a type of breathing set that provides a breathing gas containing oxygen and recycled exhaled gas. This recycling reduces the volume of breathing gas used, making a rebreather lighter and more compact than an open-circuit breathing set for the same duration in environments where...

, scuba diving
Scuba diving
Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving in which a diver uses a scuba set to breathe underwater....

 gear, and many others.

The development of the spheroidal dome helmet was key in balancing the need for field of view, pressure compensation, and low weight. One inconvenience with some spacesuits is the head being fixed facing forwards and being unable to turn to look sideways. Astronaut
Astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

s call this effect "alligator head".

High-altitude suits

  • Evgeniy Chertovsky created his full-pressure suit or high-altitude "skafandr" (скафандр) in 1931. (скафандр also means "diving
    Underwater diving
    Underwater diving is the practice of going underwater, either with breathing apparatus or by breath-holding .Recreational diving is a popular activity...

     apparatus").
  • Wiley Post
    Wiley Post
    Wiley Hardeman Post was a famed American aviator, the first pilot to fly solo around the world. Also known for his work in high altitude flying, Post helped develop one of the first pressure suits. His Lockheed Vega aircraft, the Winnie Mae, was on display at the National Air and Space Museum's...

     experimented with a number of pressure suits for record-breaking flights.
  • Russell Colley
    Russell Colley
    Russell Colley created the spacesuits worn by the Project Mercury astronauts, including fitting Alan B. Shepard Jr. for his historic ride as America's first man in space on May 5, 1961.- Early life :Colley was born in Stoneham, Massachusetts in 1899...

     created the spacesuits worn by the Project Mercury astronauts, including fitting Alan Shepard
    Alan Shepard
    Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. was an American naval aviator, test pilot, flag officer, and NASA astronaut who in 1961 became the second person, and the first American, in space. This Mercury flight was designed to enter space, but not to achieve orbit...

     for his ride as America's first man in space on May 5, 1961.

Russian suit models

  • SK series
    SK-1 spacesuit
    SK-1 is an initialism of "Skafandr Kosmicheskiy" # 1 is a spacesuit that was developed specially for Yuri Gagarin. As such, it is the first spacesuit ever used...

     (CK)
    , the space suit used for the Vostok program (1961-1963). Worn by Yuri Gagarin
    Yuri Gagarin
    Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961....

     on the first manned space flight.
  • No pressures suits were worn aboard Voskhod 1
    Voskhod 1
    Voskhod 1 was the seventh manned Soviet space flight. It achieved a number of "firsts" in the history of manned spaceflight, being the first space flight to carry more than one crewman into orbit, the first flight without the use of spacesuits, and the first to carry either an engineer or a...

    .
  • Berkut
    Berkut spacesuit
    The Berkut is a space suit model developed to be used for extravehicular activity for the Voskhod 2 mission aboard a Voskhod spacecraft on the first spacewalk. It was developed by NPP Zvezda in 1964-1965. It was a modified SK-1 suit...

     (Беркут = "golden eagle
    Golden Eagle
    The Golden Eagle is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. Once widespread across the Holarctic, it has disappeared from many of the more heavily populated areas...

    ")
    , the space suit was a modified SK-1 used by the crew of Voskhod 2
    Voskhod 2
    Voskhod 2 was a Soviet manned space mission in March 1965. Vostok-based Voskhod 3KD spacecraft with two crew members on board, Pavel Belyaev and Alexei Leonov, was equipped with an inflatable airlock...

     which included Alexey Leonov on the first spacewalk during (1965).
  • From Soyuz 1
    Soyuz 1
    Soyuz 1 was a manned spaceflight of the Soviet space program. Launched into orbit on April 23, 1967 carrying cosmonaut Colonel Vladimir Komarov, Soyuz 1 was the first flight of the Soyuz spacecraft...

     to Soyuz 11
    Soyuz 11
    Soyuz 11 was the first manned mission to arrive at the world's first space station, Salyut 1. The mission arrived at the space station on June 7, 1971 and departed on June 30, 1971. The mission ended in disaster when the crew capsule depressurized during preparations for re-entry, killing the...

     (1967-1971) no pressure suits were worn during launch and re-entry.
  • Yastreb
    Yastreb
    Yastreb is a Russian space suit that was specially developed for early Soyuz space vehicle missions and for EVA. This model of space suit allowed the cosmonaut to spacewalk from the orbital module of Soyuz....

     (Ястреб = "hawk
    Hawk
    The term hawk can be used in several ways:* In strict usage in Australia and Africa, to mean any of the species in the subfamily Accipitrinae, which comprises the genera Accipiter, Micronisus, Melierax, Urotriorchis and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread Accipiter genus includes goshawks,...

    ")
    extra-vehicular activity
    Extra-vehicular activity
    Extra-vehicular activity is work done by an astronaut away from the Earth, and outside of a spacecraft. The term most commonly applies to an EVA made outside a craft orbiting Earth , but also applies to an EVA made on the surface of the Moon...

     space suit used during a crew exchange between Soyuz 4
    Soyuz 4
    Soyuz 4 was launched on January 14, 1969. On board the Soyuz 7K-OK spacecraft was cosmonaut Vladimir Shatalov on his first flight. The aim of the mission was to dock with Soyuz 5, transfer two crew members from that spacecraft, and return to Earth...

     and Soyuz 5
    Soyuz 5
    Soyuz 5 was a Soyuz mission using the Soyuz 7K-OK spacecraft launched by the Soviet Union on January 15, 1969, which docked with Soyuz 4 in orbit...

     (1969).
  • Krechet-94 (Кречет = "gyrfalcon
    Gyrfalcon
    The Gyrfalcon — Falco rusticolus — is the largest of the falcon species. The Gyrfalcon breeds on Arctic coasts and the islands of North America, Europe, and Asia. It is mainly resident there also, but some Gyrfalcons disperse more widely after the breeding season, or in winter.Individual vagrancy...

    ")
    suit, designed for the canceled Soviet manned moon landing.
  • Strizh
    Strizh
    Strizh is a space suit that was originally developed for the crew of the Russian Buran space shuttle and resembled the Sokol space suit worn by Soyuz crew members...

     (Стриж = "swift (bird)")
    spacesuit developed for pilots of the Buran
    Shuttle Buran
    The Buran spacecraft , GRAU index 11F35 K1 was a Russian orbital vehicle analogous in function and design to the US Space Shuttle and developed by Chief Designer Gleb Lozino-Lozinskiy of Energia rocket corporation...

     space shuttle
    Space Shuttle
    The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

  • Sokol
    Sokol space suit
    The Sokol space suit is a type of Russian space suit, worn by all who fly on the Soyuz spacecraft. It was introduced in 1973 and is still used . The Sokol is described by its makers as a rescue suit, and it is not capable of being used outside the spacecraft in a spacewalk or extra-vehicular...

     (Сокол = "falcon
    Falcon
    A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America....

    ")
    suits worn by Soyuz
    Soyuz spacecraft
    Soyuz , Union) is a series of spacecraft initially designed for the Soviet space programme by the Korolyov Design Bureau in the 1960s, and still in service today...

     crew members during lift-off and re-entry
    Re-Entry
    "Re-Entry" was the second album released by UK R&B / Hip Hop collective Big Brovaz. After the album was delayed in May 2006, the band finally release the follow-up to "Nu Flow" on 9 April 2007...

     They were first worn on Soyuz 12
    Soyuz 12
    Soyuz 12 was a 1973 manned test flight by the Soviet Union of the newly-redesigned Soyuz 7K-T spacecraft that was intended to provide greater crew safety in the wake of the Soyuz 11 tragedy. The flight marked the return of the Soviets to manned space operations after the 1971 accident...

    . They have been used from 1973 to present.
  • Orlan
    Orlan space suits
    thumb|right|270px|Cosmonaut [[Maksim Surayev]] next to two Orlan-MK modelsAn Orlan space suit |sea eagle]]) is a series of semi-rigid one-piece space suit models designed and built by NPP Zvezda. They have been used for spacewalks in the Russian space program, the successor to the Soviet space...

     (Орлан = "sea-eagle" or "bald eagle
    Bald Eagle
    The Bald Eagle is a bird of prey found in North America. It is the national bird and symbol of the United States of America. This sea eagle has two known sub-species and forms a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle...

    ")
    suits for extra-vehicular activity
    Extra-vehicular activity
    Extra-vehicular activity is work done by an astronaut away from the Earth, and outside of a spacecraft. The term most commonly applies to an EVA made outside a craft orbiting Earth , but also applies to an EVA made on the surface of the Moon...

    , originally developed for the Soviet lunar program as a lunar orbit EVA suit. It is Russia's current EVA suit. Used from 1977 to present.




American suit models

  • In the early 1950s Siegfried Hansen and colleagues at Litton Industries
    Litton Industries
    Named after inventor Charles Litton, Sr., Litton Industries was a large defense contractor in the United States, bought by the Northrop Grumman Corporation in 2001.-History:...

     designed and built a working hard-shell suit, which was used inside vacuum chambers and was the predecessor of space suits used in NASA missions.
  • Navy Mark IV high-altitude/vacuum suit used for Project Mercury
    Project Mercury
    In January 1960 NASA awarded Western Electric Company a contract for the Mercury tracking network. The value of the contract was over $33 million. Also in January, McDonnell delivered the first production-type Mercury spacecraft, less than a year after award of the formal contract. On February 12,...

     (1961-1963).
  • Gemini space suits (1965-1966), came in three versions: G3C designed for intra-vehicle use; G4C specially designed for EVA and intra-vehicle use; and a special G5C suit worn by the Gemini 7
    Gemini 7
    Gemini 7 was a 1965 manned spaceflight in NASA's Gemini program. It was the 4th manned Gemini flight, the 12th manned American flight and the 20th spaceflight of all time . The crew of Frank F. Borman, II and James A...

     crew for 14 days inside the spacecraft.
  • Manned Orbital Laboratory MH-7 space suits for the canceled MOL program.
  • Apollo Block I A1C suit (1966-1967) was a derivative of the Gemini suit, worn by primary and backup crews in training for two early Apollo missions. The nylon pressure garment melted and burned through in the Apollo 1
    Apollo 1
    Apollo 1 was scheduled to be the first manned mission of the Apollo manned lunar landing program, with a target launch date of February 21, 1967. A cabin fire during a launch pad test on January 27 at Launch Pad 34 at Cape Canaveral killed all three crew members: Command Pilot Virgil "Gus"...

     cabin fire. This suit became obsolete when manned Block I Apollo flights were discontinued after the fire.
  • Apollo/Skylab A7L
    Apollo/Skylab A7L
    The A7L Apollo & Skylab spacesuit is the primary pressure suit worn by NASA astronauts for Project Apollo, the three manned Skylab flights, and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project between 1968 and the termination of the Apollo program in 1975. The "A7L" designation is used by NASA as the seventh Apollo...

    EVA and Moon suits. The Block II Apollo suit was the primary pressure suit
    Pressure suit
    A pressure suit is a protective suit worn by high-altitude pilots who may fly at altitudes where the air pressure is too low for an unprotected person to survive, even breathing pure oxygen at positive pressure. Such suits may be either full-pressure or partial-pressure...

     worn for 11 Project Apollo
    Project Apollo
    The Apollo program was the spaceflight effort carried out by the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration , that landed the first humans on Earth's Moon. Conceived during the Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Apollo began in earnest after President John F...

     flights, 3 Skylab
    Skylab
    Skylab was a space station launched and operated by NASA, the space agency of the United States. Skylab orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979, and included a workshop, a solar observatory, and other systems. It was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket, with a mass of...

     flights, and the US astronauts on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
    Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
    -Backup crew:-Crew notes:Jack Swigert had originally been assigned as the command module pilot for the ASTP prime crew, but prior to the official announcement he was removed as punishment for his involvement in the Apollo 15 postage stamp scandal.-Soyuz crew:...

     between 1968 and 1975. The pressure garment's nylon outer layer was replaced with fireproof Beta cloth
    Beta cloth
    Beta cloth is a type of fireproof silica fiber cloth used in the manufacture of Apollo/Skylab A7L space suits and in other specialized applications....

     after the Apollo 1 fire. This suit was the first to employ a liquid-cooled inner garment and outer micrometeroid garment.
  • Shuttle Ejection Escape Suit
    Shuttle Ejection Escape Suit
    The Shuttle Ejection Escape Suit used from STS-1 to STS-4 by a two-man crew used in conjunction with the then-installed ejection seats. It allowed ejections up to Mach 2.7 and 24.4 km .The suit was manufactured by the David Clark Company of Worcester, Massachusetts...

    used from STS-1
    STS-1
    STS-1 was the first orbital flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program. Space Shuttle Columbia launched on 12 April 1981, and returned to Earth on 14 April, having orbited the Earth 37 times during the 54.5-hour mission. It was the first American manned space flight since the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project...

     (1981) to STS-4
    STS-4
    STS-4 was a NASA Space Shuttle mission, using the Space Shuttle Columbia. The mission launched on 27 June 1982 and landed a week later on 4 July. STS-4 was the fourth shuttle mission overall, and was also the fourth mission for the Columbia.-Crew:...

     (1982) by a two-man crew used in conjunction with the then-installed ejection seats. Derived from a USAF model. These were removed once the Shuttle became certified.
  • From STS-5
    STS-5
    STS-5 was a NASA Space Shuttle mission, the fifth shuttle mission overall and the fifth flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia. It was the first shuttle mission to deploy communications satellites into orbit...

     (1982) to STS-25 (1986) no pressure suits were worn during launch and re-entry. The crew would wear only a blue-flight suit
    Flight suit
    A flight suit is a full body garment, worn while flying aircraft such as military airplanes, gliders and helicopters. These suits are generally made to keep the wearer warm, as well as being practical , and durable . Its appearance is usually similar to a jumpsuit. A military flight suit may also...

     with an oxygen helmet.
  • Launch Entry Suit
    Launch Entry Suit
    The Launch Entry Suit or "pumpkin suit", was a partial pressure suit worn by all Space Shuttle crews for the ascent and entry portions of flight from STS-26 to STS-65 . It was completely phased out by STS-88 and replaced by the ACES suit...

    first used on STS-26
    STS-26
    STS-26 was the 26th NASA Space Shuttle mission and the seventh flight of the Discovery orbiter. The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 29 September 1988, and landed four days later on 3 October. STS-26 was declared the "Return to Flight" mission, being the first mission after...

    , the first flight after the Challenger disaster. It was a partial pressure suit derived from a USAF model. It was used from 1988 to 1998.
  • Advanced Crew Escape Suit
    Advanced Crew Escape Suit
    The Advanced Crew Escape Suit or "pumpkin suit", was a full pressure suit that began to be worn by Space Shuttle crews after STS-65, for the ascent and entry portions of flight. The suit is a direct descendant of the U.S...

    used on the Space Shuttle
    Space Shuttle
    The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

     starting in 1994. The Advanced Crew Escape Suit or ACES suit, is a full pressure suit
    Pressure suit
    A pressure suit is a protective suit worn by high-altitude pilots who may fly at altitudes where the air pressure is too low for an unprotected person to survive, even breathing pure oxygen at positive pressure. Such suits may be either full-pressure or partial-pressure...

     currently worn by all Space Shuttle
    Space Shuttle
    The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

     crews for the ascent and entry portions of flight. The suit is a direct descendant of the U.S. Air Force high-altitude pressure suits worn by SR-71 Blackbird
    SR-71 Blackbird
    The Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird" was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft. It was developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s by the Lockheed Skunk Works. Clarence "Kelly" Johnson was responsible for many of the...

     and U-2
    Lockheed U-2
    The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed "Dragon Lady", is a single-engine, very high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency . It provides day and night, very high-altitude , all-weather intelligence gathering...

     spy plane pilots, X-15 and Gemini
    Project Gemini
    Project Gemini was the second human spaceflight program of NASA, the civilian space agency of the United States government. Project Gemini was conducted between projects Mercury and Apollo, with ten manned flights occurring in 1965 and 1966....

     pilot-astronaut
    Astronaut
    An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

    s and the Launch-Entry Suits worn by NASA
    NASA
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

     previously worn by astronauts. It is derived from a USAF model.
  • Extravehicular Mobility Unit
    Extravehicular Mobility Unit
    The Space Shuttle/International Space Station Extravehicular Mobility Unit is an independent anthropomorphic system that provides environmental protection, mobility, life support, and communications for a Space Shuttle or International Space Station crew member to perform extra-vehicular activity...

    used on both the Space Shuttle
    Space Shuttle
    The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

     and International Space Station
    International Space Station
    The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

    . The EMU is an independent anthropomorphic system that provides environmental protection, mobility, life support, and communications for a Shuttle or ISS crew member to perform extra-vehicular activity
    Extra-vehicular activity
    Extra-vehicular activity is work done by an astronaut away from the Earth, and outside of a spacecraft. The term most commonly applies to an EVA made outside a craft orbiting Earth , but also applies to an EVA made on the surface of the Moon...

     (EVA) in earth orbit. Used from 1982 to present.





Chinese suit models

  • Shuguang space suit. First generation EVA space suit developed by China for the 1967 canceled Project 714 manned space program. With a mass of about 10 kilograms (22 lb), of orange colour, made of high-resistance multi-layers polyester fabric. The astronaut could use it inside the cabin and conduct EVA as well.

  • Project 863 space suit. Cancelled project of second generation Chinese EVA space suit.

  • Shenzhou IVA (神舟) space suit. The suit was first worn by Yang Liwei
    Yang Liwei
    Yáng Lìwěi is a Chinese major general and military pilot and a CNSA astronaut. He was the first man sent into space by the Chinese space program and his mission, Shenzhou 5, made China the third country to independently send people into space.-Background:...

     on Shenzhou 5, the first manned Chinese space flight, it closely resembles a Sokol-KV2 suit, but it is believed to be a Chinese-made version rather than an actual Russian suit. Pictures show that the suits on Shenzhou 6 differ in detail from the earlier suit, they are also reported to be lighter.

  • Haiying (海鹰号航天服) EVA space suit. The imported Russian Orlan-M EVA suit is called Haiying. Used on Shenzhou 7
    Shenzhou 7
    - Backup crew :Of the back-up crew, only Chen Quan had not previously flown in space.- Mission highlights :The Long March 2F rocket launched the Shenzhou 7 into an initial elliptical orbit of 200 x 330 kilometres inclined at 42.4 degrees on 25 September 2008. About seven hours later the spacecraft...

    .

  • Feitian
    Feitian space suit
    A Feitian space suit is a Chinese spacesuit that was developed for the Shenzhou 7. Astronaut Zhai Zhigang wore it during China's first-ever extra-vehicular activity on September 27, 2008....

    (飞天号航天服) EVA space suit. New generation indigenously developed Chinese-made EVA space suit also used for the Shenzhou 7
    Shenzhou 7
    - Backup crew :Of the back-up crew, only Chen Quan had not previously flown in space.- Mission highlights :The Long March 2F rocket launched the Shenzhou 7 into an initial elliptical orbit of 200 x 330 kilometres inclined at 42.4 degrees on 25 September 2008. About seven hours later the spacecraft...

     mission. The suit was designed for a spacewalk mission of up to seven hours. The astronauts had been training in the out-of-capsule space suits since July 2007, and movements are seriously restricted in the suits, with a mass of more than 110 kilograms each.





Emerging technologies


Several companies and universities are developing technologies and prototypes which represent improvements over current spacesuits.

Mark III


The Mark III
Mark III (space suit)
The Mark III or MK III is a NASA space suit technology demonstrator built by ILC Dover. While heavier than other suits , the Mark III is more mobile, and is designed for a relatively high operating pressure.The Mark III is a rear-entry suit, unlike the EMU currently in use, which is a waist-entry...

 is a NASA prototype, constructed by ILC Dover
ILC Dover
ILC Dover, LP is an engineering development and manufacturing company based in Frederica, Delaware. ILC specializes in the use of high-performance flexible materials, serving the aerospace, personal protection, and pharmaceutical industries.Best known for making space suits for NASA, ILC...

, which incorporates a hard lower torso section and a mix of soft and hard components. The Mark III is markedly more mobile than previous suits, despite its high operating pressure (57 kPa (8.3 psi)), which makes it a "zero-prebreathe" suit, meaning that astronauts would be able to transition directly from a one atmosphere, mixed-gas space station environment, such as that on the International Space Station
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

, to the suit, without risking decompression sickness
Decompression sickness
Decompression sickness describes a condition arising from dissolved gases coming out of solution into bubbles inside the body on depressurization...

, which can occur with rapid depressurization from an atmosphere containing Nitrogen
Nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

 or another inert gas

I-Suit


The I-Suit
I-Suit
The I-Suit is a spacesuit model constructed by ILC Dover. The suit began as an EVA mobility demonstrator, developed to meet a contract awarded by NASA to ILC in 1997 for an all-soft suit....

 is a spacesuit prototype also constructed by ILC Dover, which incorporates several design improvements over the EMU, including a weight-saving soft upper torso. Both the Mark III and the I-Suit have taken part in NASA's annual Desert Research and Technology Studies
Desert Research and Technology Studies
NASA's Desert Research and Technology Studies is a group of teams which perform an annual series of field trials seeking to demonstrate and test candidate technologies and systems for manned exploration of the surface of the Moon, Mars, or other rocky bodies.Desert RATS began in 1997, reviving...

 (D-RATS) field trials, during which suit occupants interact with one another, and with rovers and other equipment.

Bio-Suit


Bio-Suit is a space activity suit
Space activity suit
A space activity suit or mechanical counterpressure suit is an experimental spacesuit which applies stable pressure against the skin by means of skintight elastic garments. The SAS is not inflated like a conventional spacesuit: it uses mechanical pressure, rather than air pressure, to compress the...

 under development at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

, which consists of several lower leg prototypes. Bio-suit is custom fit to each wearer, using laser body scanning.

MX-2


The MX-2 is a space suit analogue constructed at the University of Maryland
University of Maryland, College Park
The University of Maryland, College Park is a top-ranked public research university located in the city of College Park in Prince George's County, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C...

's Space Systems Laboratory
Space systems laboratory
The Space Systems Laboratory is part of the Aerospace Engineering Department and A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. The Space Systems Laboratory is centered around the Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility, a , water tank that is used to...

. The MX-2 is used for manned neutral buoyancy
Neutral buoyancy
Neutral buoyancy is a condition in which a physical body's mass equals the mass it displaces in a surrounding medium. This offsets the force of gravity that would otherwise cause the object to sink...

 testing at the Space Systems Lab's Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility. By approximating the work envelope of a real EVA suit, without meeting the requirements of a flight-rated suit, the MX-2 provides an inexpensive platform for EVA research, compared to using EMU
Extravehicular Mobility Unit
The Space Shuttle/International Space Station Extravehicular Mobility Unit is an independent anthropomorphic system that provides environmental protection, mobility, life support, and communications for a Space Shuttle or International Space Station crew member to perform extra-vehicular activity...

 suits at facilities like NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory
Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory
The Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory is an astronaut training facility maintained by and located at the Sonny Carter Training Facility on NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The NBL consists of a large indoor pool of water, the largest in the world, in which astronauts may perform simulated...

.

The MX-2 has an operating pressure of 2.5–4 psi. It is a rear-entry suit, featuring a fiberglass hard upper torso
Hard Upper Torso
A Hard Upper Torso Assembly, or HUT, is a central component of several space suits, notably Roscosmos' Orlan and NASA's Extravehicular Mobility Unit . The fiberglass HUT forms a rigid enclosure about the upper body of the occupant, providing pressure containment for this part of the body...

. Air, LCG
Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garment
A Liquid Cooling Garment is a form-fitting garment that is used to remove body heat from the wearer in environments where evaporative cooling from sweating and open air convection cooling does not work, or the wearer has a biological problem that hinders self-regulation of body temperature.A...

 cooling water, and power are open loop systems, provided through an umbilical
Umbilical cable
An umbilical cable or umbilical is a cable which supplies required consumables to an apparatus. It is named by analogy with an umbilical cord...

. The suit contains a Mac mini
Mac Mini
The Mac Mini is a small form factor desktop computer manufactured by Apple Inc. Like earlier mini-ITX PC designs, it is uncommonly small for a desktop computer: 7.7 inches square and 1.4 inches tall. It weighs 2.7 pounds...

 computer to capture sensor data, such as suit pressure, inlet and outlet air temperatures, and heart rate. Resizable suit elements and adjustable ballast allow the suit to accommodate subjects ranging in height from 68 to-, and with a weight range of 120 lb (54.4 kg).

North Dakota suit

Beginning in May 2006 five North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

 colleges collaborated on a new spacesuit prototype, funded by a $100,000 grant from NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

, to demonstrate technologies which could be incorporated into a planetary suit. The suit was tested in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a United States National Park comprising three geographically separated areas of badlands in western North Dakota. The park was named for U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, in honor of his achievements in conservation as president and for the landscape's...

 badlands
Badlands
A badlands is a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water. It can resemble malpaís, a terrain of volcanic rock. Canyons, ravines, gullies, hoodoos and other such geological forms are common in badlands. They are often...

 of western North Dakota. The suit has a mass of 47 pounds (21.3 kg) without a life support backpack, and costs only a fraction of the standard $12,000,000 cost for a flight-rated NASA spacesuit. The suit was developed in just over a year by students from the University of North Dakota
University of North Dakota
The University of North Dakota is a public university in Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA. Established by the Dakota Territorial Assembly in 1883, six years before the establishment of the state of North Dakota, UND is the oldest and largest university in the state and enrolls over 14,000 students. ...

, North Dakota State
North Dakota State University
North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, more commonly known as North Dakota State University , is a public university in Fargo, North Dakota. NDSU has about 14,000 students and it is the largest university in North Dakota based on full time students and land size...

, Dickinson State
Dickinson State University
Dickinson State University is a four-year public university in Dickinson, North Dakota, United States, and is a part of the North Dakota University System...

, the state College of Science
North Dakota State College of Science
The North Dakota State College of Science is a 2-year public college in Wahpeton, North Dakota and part of the North Dakota University System...

 and Turtle Mountain Community College
Turtle Mountain Community College
Turtle Mountain Community College is a tribal college in Belcourt, North Dakota. It was founded by the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in 1972 and offers two-year Associate degrees in a number of subjects as well as four-year Bachelor degrees in elementary and secondary science.-External...

. The mobility of the North Dakota suit can be attributed to its low operating pressure; while the North Dakota suit was field tested at a pressure of 1 psi (6.9 kPa; 51.7 Torr) differential, NASA's EMU suit operates at a pressure of 4.7 psi (32.4 kPa; 243.1 Torr), a pressure designed to supply approximately sea-level oxygen partial pressure for respiration
Respiratory system
The respiratory system is the anatomical system of an organism that introduces respiratory gases to the interior and performs gas exchange. In humans and other mammals, the anatomical features of the respiratory system include airways, lungs, and the respiratory muscles...

 (see discussion above).

Aouda.X


Since 2009, the Austrian Space Forum has been developing "Aouda.X", an experimental Mars analogue spacesuit focusing on an advanced man-machine interface and on-board computing network to increase situational awareness. The suit is designed to study contamination vectors in planetary exploration analogue environments and create limitations depending on the pressure regime chosen for a simulation. An advanced human-machine interface, a set of sensors and a purpose designed software act as a local virtual assistant to the crewman. It is designed to interact with other field components like the a rover, georadar and subsurface drilling instruments. Aouda.X weighs 45 kg, and is based upon a Hard-Upper-Torso system with ambient air ventilation. The outermost layer consists of a Panox/Kevlar tissue with aluminium coating; the pressure simulation is implemented via a modifiable exoskeleton able to simulate various pressure regimes for all major human joints including fingers. A biomedical and engineering telemetry package communicates via via W-Lan (including continuous video & audio, various temperatures, CO2, GPS, air pressure, humidity, acceleration,…), the man-machine interface is realized using speech recognition and accelerometer input devices in the gloves.

NASA Constellation Space Suit system


On August 2, 2006, NASA indicated plans to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the design, development, certification, production, and sustaining engineering of the Constellation Space Suit
Constellation Space Suit
The Constellation Space Suit was a planned full pressure suit system that would have served as an intra-vehicular activity and Extra-vehicular activity garment for the proposed Project Constellation flights, which were planned to begin after the Space Shuttle retired...

 to meet the needs of Project Constellation
Project Constellation
Constellation Program is a human spaceflight program within NASA, the space agency of the United States. The stated goals of the program were to gain significant experience in operating away from Earth's environment, develop technologies needed for opening the space frontier, and conduct...

. NASA foresees a single suit capable of supporting: survivability during launch, entry and abort; zero-gravity EVA; lunar surface EVA; and Mars surface EVA.

On June 11, 2008, NASA awarded a $745 million contract to Oceaneering International
Oceaneering International
Oceaneering International Inc. is an applied technology company based in Houston, Texas, U.S.A. that provides engineered services and hardware to customers who operate in marine, space, and other environments...

 to create the new spacesuit.

Suitports


A suitport
Suitport
A suitport or suitlock is a proposed alternative to an airlock, designed for use in hazardous environments and in human spaceflight, especially planetary surface exploration.-Operation:...

 is a theoretical alternative to an airlock
Airlock
An airlock is a device which permits the passage of people and objects between a pressure vessel and its surroundings while minimizing the change of pressure in the vessel and loss of air from it...

, designed for use in hazardous environments and in human spaceflight
Human spaceflight
Human spaceflight is spaceflight with humans on the spacecraft. When a spacecraft is manned, it can be piloted directly, as opposed to machine or robotic space probes and remotely-controlled satellites....

, especially planet
Planet
A planet is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, science,...

ary surface exploration. In a suitport system, a rear-entry space suit is attached and sealed against the outside of a spacecraft
Spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

, such that an astronaut can enter and seal up the suit, then go on EVA, without the need for an airlock or depressurizing the spacecraft cabin. Suitports require less mass and volume than airlocks, provide dust
Dust
Dust consists of particles in the atmosphere that arise from various sources such as soil dust lifted up by wind , volcanic eruptions, and pollution...

 mitigation, and prevent cross-contamination of the inside and outside environments. Patents for suitport designs were filed in 1996 by Philip Culbertson Jr. of NASA's Ames Research Center and in 2003 by Joerg Boettcher, Stephen Ransom, and Frank Steinsiek.

Astronaut Glove Challenge


There are certain difficulties in designing a dexterous spacesuit glove and there are limitations to the current designs. So to build a better glove the Centennial Astronaut Glove Challenge was created. Competitions have been held in 2007 and 2009, and another is planned. The 2009 contest required the glove to be covered with a micro-meteorite layer.

Spacesuits in fiction



The oldest space fiction ignored the problems of traveling through a vacuum, and launched its heroes through space without any special protection. In the later 19th century, however, a more realistic brand of space fiction emerged, in which authors have tried to describe or depict the space suits worn by their characters. These fictional suits vary in appearance and technology, and range from the highly authentic to the utterly improbable.

A very early fictional account of space suits can be seen in the book Edison's Conquest of Mars
Edison's Conquest of Mars
Edison's Conquest of Mars, by Garrett P. Serviss, is one of the many science fiction novels published in the 19th century. Although science fiction was not at the time thought of as a distinct literary genre, it was a very popular literary form, with almost every fiction magazine regularly...

(1898). Later comic book
Comic book
A comic book or comicbook is a magazine made up of comics, narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog as well as including...

 series such as Buck Rogers
Buck Rogers
Anthony Rogers is a fictional character that first appeared in Armageddon 2419 A.D. by Philip Francis Nowlan in the August 1928 issue of the pulp magazine Amazing Stories. A sequel, The Airlords of Han, was published in the March 1929 issue....

 (1930s) and Dan Dare
Dan Dare
Dan Dare is a British science fiction comic hero, created by illustrator Frank Hampson who also wrote the first stories, that is, the Venus and Red Moon stories, and a complete storyline for Operation Saturn...

 (1950s) also featured their own takes on space suit design. Science fiction authors such as Robert A. Heinlein
Robert A. Heinlein
Robert Anson Heinlein was an American science fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre. He set a standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of...

 contributed to the development of fictional space suit concepts.

See also



  • Flight suit
    Flight suit
    A flight suit is a full body garment, worn while flying aircraft such as military airplanes, gliders and helicopters. These suits are generally made to keep the wearer warm, as well as being practical , and durable . Its appearance is usually similar to a jumpsuit. A military flight suit may also...

  • Pressure Suit
    Pressure suit
    A pressure suit is a protective suit worn by high-altitude pilots who may fly at altitudes where the air pressure is too low for an unprotected person to survive, even breathing pure oxygen at positive pressure. Such suits may be either full-pressure or partial-pressure...

  • Space activity suit
    Space activity suit
    A space activity suit or mechanical counterpressure suit is an experimental spacesuit which applies stable pressure against the skin by means of skintight elastic garments. The SAS is not inflated like a conventional spacesuit: it uses mechanical pressure, rather than air pressure, to compress the...

     ("Bio-Suit")
  • Spaceflight
    Spaceflight
    Spaceflight is the act of travelling into or through outer space. Spaceflight can occur with spacecraft which may, or may not, have humans on board. Examples of human spaceflight include the Russian Soyuz program, the U.S. Space shuttle program, as well as the ongoing International Space Station...

  • Human spaceflight
    Human spaceflight
    Human spaceflight is spaceflight with humans on the spacecraft. When a spacecraft is manned, it can be piloted directly, as opposed to machine or robotic space probes and remotely-controlled satellites....

  • Extra-vehicular activity
    Extra-vehicular activity
    Extra-vehicular activity is work done by an astronaut away from the Earth, and outside of a spacecraft. The term most commonly applies to an EVA made outside a craft orbiting Earth , but also applies to an EVA made on the surface of the Moon...

  • Manned maneuvering unit
    Manned Maneuvering Unit
    The Manned Maneuvering Unit is an astronaut propulsion unit which was used by NASA on three space shuttle missions in 1984. The MMU allowed the astronauts to perform untethered EVA spacewalks at a distance from the shuttle. The MMU was used in practice to retrieve a pair of faulty communications...

  • Human adaptation to space
    Human adaptation to space
    Human physiological adaptation to the conditions of space is a challenge faced in the development of human spaceflight.The fundamental engineering problems of escaping Earth's gravity well and developing systems for in-space propulsion have been examined for well over a century, and millions of...

  • List of spacewalks
  • List of Mir spacewalks
  • List of ISS spacewalks
  • List of spacewalks and moonwalks
  • List of cumulative spacewalk records

External links