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19 Interesting Facts About Spacesuits to Stir Your Curiosity

Interesting Facts About Spacesuits
A spacesuit provides safety, comfort, and favorable environment for a living being to survive and work in outer space. Let us find out what are the amazing properties of a spacesuit which helps an astronaut to survive in space.
Niharika Arya
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Did You Know?
NASA's new spacesuit looks exactly like Buzz Lightyear's from the movie Toy Story
In winter, you wear sweaters, gloves, mufflers, overcoats, warm inner wear, boots, and what not, just to keep yourself warm and protected from the harsh, cold winds and chilly atmosphere. Now, imagine the challenges an astronaut faces in space, where there is no air, no protection from cold and heat, and no gravity to keep his feet on the ground. In space, a person can die in 15 seconds due to the lack of oxygen. The fluid in the body can boil and then freeze, as there is no air pressure. This boiling fluid may result in organ expansion. The astronaut will be exposed to radiation, cosmic rays, charged particles emitted from the Sun, and extreme temperatures. This is the reason why an astronaut needs a spacesuit.

A spacesuit maintains conditions similar to the Earth, and provides him with essentials to survive, like oxygen, cooling systems, heating systems, water, etc. These suits are pressurized with air which maintains the body pressure. Let us find out some of the most interesting facts about a spacesuit, in the following paragraphs.
Interesting Spacesuit Facts
Astronauts suite
Space is not favorable to sustain life. Hence, spacesuits are specially designed not only to help astronauts survive, but also carry out experiments in space. The spacesuits that we see today have undergone various changes and improvements, to the point that humans can survive and work outside the shuttle for up to 8 hours!
★ Spacesuits were initially made for air force pilots who flew jet aircraft, to cope with low atmospheric pressure and lack of oxygen at high altitudes.
★ A spacesuit protects an astronaut from extreme temperatures encountered in space. The temperatures may go down to as low as -250ºF or as high as 250ºF.
★ The first spacesuit worn by a human in space was the Soviet SK-1 suit, in 1961. Whereas, NASA's first spacesuit was worn just one month later during the Mercury program in the same year.
Man walk on rocky ground
★ For the Apollo program, specialized boots were included in the spacesuits which were designed to walk on rocky ground.
Apollo spacesuit
★ The Apollo spacesuit was a one-piece suit. It was custom-tailored for each astronaut, and they used to enter the suit from the back.
★ Each prime crew of the Apollo mission had 3 suits: one for flight, one for training, and one for flight backup. The backup three-man crew had two suits each: one for flight and one for training.
Orange spacesuit
★ Space Shuttle Program has a special orange spacesuit which is worn inside the shuttle at the time of launch and landing, so as to spot the astronauts in case of any mishap.
★ A spacesuit without the astronaut in it, weighs around 280 pounds on the ground. However, in space it is weightless.
Walking outside the shuttle
★ The spacesuit that is donned when working or walking outside the shuttle is white in color. This helps reflect heat and the Sun's rays which can raise the temperature to more than 275ºF.
★ Even with the aid of a helper, an astronaut takes more than an hour to wear a spacesuit, including the special undergarments.
★ In order to get adapted to the pure oxygen and lower pressure of a spacesuit, astronauts have to spend about an hour inside the suit before going outside the spacecraft.
★ Shuttle spacesuit materials include ortho-fabric, aluminized mylar, neoprene-coated nylon, dacron, urethane-coated nylon, tricot, nylon/spandex, stainless steel, and high-strength composite materials.
★ Putting a spacesuit on is called 'donning' the suit, and removing it is called 'doffing'.
★ A spacesuit has an inbuilt urine collection device.
★ Spacesuits have a hose which is attached to the spacecraft which carries air and water, and also prevents the astronauts from floating away in space.
★ It has a liquid cooling and ventilation system inside the spacesuit.
Space helmet
★ The helmet has two visors. A clear one which seals the suit so that no air goes out, and a dark one to protect the eyes from sunlight. Before the spacewalk, the helmet is treated with an anti-fog compound.
★ The helmet has a camera mounted on it which helps other station scientists to see what an astronaut can see in the space.
★ A spacesuit can be attached to a unit called Manned Maneuvering Unit or MMU, with which an astronaut can freely move in space. This unit has 24 small rockets that help move freely. It has a control on the armrest to move and direct.
Till now, only three countries have marked their presence in space; Russia, China, and the United States. They have their own versions of spacesuit which are high-end and perfect for a spacewalk. Changes and improvement are still being made to improve the spacesuit for better experience and enhanced safety.