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  • Writer's pictureMatt Russell


Space suit 101

IVA (intravehicular activity): Worn inside a pressurized spacecraft, and are therefore lighter and more comfortable than;


EVA (extravehicular activity): Used outside spacecraft, for either planetary exploration or spacewalks.

IEVA (intra/extravehicular activity): IEVA suits are meant for use inside and outside the spacecraft,


Soft suits: Although made mostly of fabrics all soft suits must have some hard parts, Intra-vehicular activity and early EVA suits were soft suits.

Hard-shell suits: Made of metal or composite materials with no fabric especially for joints. Hard suits joints use ball bearings and wedge-ring segments to allow movement of arms and legs. The joints maintain a constant volume of air internally and do not have any counter force. Hard suits can also operate at higher pressures

Hybrid suits; Hybrid suits have hard-shell parts and fabric parts. EMU uses a fiberglass Hard Upper Torso and fabric limbs. Virtually all workable space suit designs incorporate hard components

Skintight suits aka Space activity suit; Use a heavy elastic body stocking to compress the body. The head is in a pressurized helmet usually very difficult to put on and may not provide a uniform pressure. Sweat used to cool the astronaut may wreck the things they are working around..

  • No difference exists in a male's or female's suit, though the female astronaut usually requires a smaller size.

  • A spacesuit weighs approximately 280 pounds on the ground

  • Putting on a spacesuit takes 45 minutes, including the time it takes to put on the special undergarments that help keep astronauts cool. After putting on the spacesuit, to adapt to the lower pressure maintained in the suit, the astronaut must spend a little more than an hour breathing pure oxygen before going outside the pressurized module.

  • The reason that spacesuits are white is because white reflects heat in space the same as it does here on Earth. Temperatures in direct sunlight in space can be more than 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Spacesuit like the EMU have about 14 layers of materials that include ortho-fabric, aluminized mylar, neoprene-coated nylon, dacron, urethane-coated nylon, tricot, nylon/spandex, stainless steel, and high-strength composite materials, A thin layer of gold on an astronaut's helmet visor fends off dangerous effects of solar radiation., Gold happens to be very good at reflecting infrared light

  • Putting a spacesuit on is called "donning" Removing the suit is called "doffing."

  • Standard $8m -$12m cost for a flight-rated NASA space suit (about 500 million to develop)

  • Developed from normal flight pressure suits! The Armstrong line is a measure of altitude above which atmospheric pressure is sufficiently low that water boils at the normal temperature of the human body. You simply cannot survive above this limit in an unpressurized environment. Happens at only 18–19 km above sea level, named after US Air Force General Harry George Armstrong, who discovered the phenomenon

First design of a spacesuit for working on the Moon (H E Ross, 1949) British Interplanetary Society; Harry Ross, credible thinking on how humans could survive in a self-contained, mobile habitat. The original paper by Harry Ross is titled “Lunar Space Suit, Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, Vol.9, No.1, pp.23-37, January 1950 Illustrated by R A Smith

Also In the early 1950s, Siegfried Hansen and his colleagues at Litton Industries designed and built a working hard-shell suit, which was used inside vacuum chambers and was the predecessor of space suits used in NASA mission

The first space suit worn by a human in space was the Soviet SK-1 suit worn by Yuri Gagarin in 1961. There was an SK-2 for women. similar Spacesuit as Everyday Astronaut!!!

The vital bits!!!

  • A stable internal pressure.

  • Mobility.

  • Supply of breathable oxygen and elimination of carbon dioxide; these gases are exchanged with the spacecraft or a Portable Life Support System (PLSS)

  • Temperature regulation.

  • A communication system. Connection to the spacecraft or PLSS,

  • Means of collecting and containing solid and liquid bodily waste

Advanced Features

  • Shielding against ultraviolet radiation

  • Shielding against particle radiation

  • Means to dock, release, and tether onto a spacecraft

  • Protection against small micrometeoroids,

  • A way of minimising the dust that gets on the suit. (moon and mars dust really bad for you)


  • Often at 32.4 kPa (4.7psi) if in pure oxygen to compensate for lack of CO2 and water vapour (alveolar pressure equation).

  • Some suits do use the 20.7 kPa (3psi), which is like working at altitude.

  • Using low pressure suits from a pressurized spacecraft like the space shuttle you’ve got to be careful not to get the bends, by doing a pre-breath of pure 0xygen

Awesome Space suits!!!


Above SK series (CK), (Orange) Yuri Gagarin on the first manned space flight.

Top Row

Berkut (Беркут = "golden eagle"), Alexey Leonov on the first spacewalk

Yastreb (Ястреб = "hawk") Our space legend ep97 Yevgeny Khrunov used during a crew exchange between Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 (1969).

Krechet-94 (Кречет = "gyrfalcon") canceled Soviet manned Moon landing.

Bottom Row

Strizh (Стриж = "swift ") (Brown) Buran space shuttle

Sokol (Сокол = "falcon") (White and Blue) suits worn by Soyuz crew members during launch and reentry They were first worn on Soyuz 12, they didn’t have pressure suits before!!!!!!. They have been used from 1973 to present.

Orlan (Орлан = "sea-eagle" ) (sandy) designed for lunar orbit EVA suit. It is Russia's current EVA suit. Used from 1977 to present.


  • Navy Mark IV (Silver) high-altitude/vacuum suit used for Project Mercury (1961–1963).

  • Gemini space suits (White)(1965–1966), there were three main variants developed:

  • 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 crew for 14 days inside the spacecraft.

  • Apollo/Skylab A7L EVA and Moon suits. (white) The Block II Apollo suit was the primary pressure suit worn for eleven Apollo flights, three Skylab flights, and the US astronauts on the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project between 1968 and 1975. The pressure garment's nylon outer layer was replaced with fireproof Beta cloth 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 (Gold) used from STS-1 (1981) to STS-4 (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.

  • Shuttle flight suit with an oxygen helmet. (blue) From STS-5 (1982) to STS-25 (1986) no pressure suits were worn during launch and reentry.

  • Launch Entry Suit (ORANGE) first used on STS-26 (1988), post Challenger disaster. It was a partial pressure suit derived from a USAF model. It was used from 1988 to 1998.

  • Advanced Crew Escape Suit ACES (ORANGE) suit, is a full-pressure suit worn by all Space Shuttle crews for the ascent and entry portions of flight from 1994 using pressure suits worn by SR-71 Blackbird and the Launch entry Suit designs; When NASA was looking at flying ACES aboard Orion for the asteroid redirect mission, the plan was to upgrade the ACES to the MACES with modified gloves, a thermal and micrometeoroid outer garment and a portable life support system to perform just a couple of extravehicular activities (EVAs)

  • Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) (White) used on both the Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS). The EMU is an independent anthropomorphic system that provides environmental protection, mobility, life support, and communications for a Space Shuttle or ISS crew member to perform an EVA in earth orbit. Used from 1982 to present.

  • Personal Rescue Enclosure; or "rescue ball" was a device for transporting astronauts from one Space Shuttle to another in case of an emergency. It was produced as a prototype but never flew on any missions.The ball was 36 inches (86 cm) in diameter and had a volume of 0.33 cubic meters

  • SpaceX spacesuit for use by private astronauts to wear within in the Dragon V2 space capsule A mannequin wore the SpaceX space suit during the maiden launch of the Falcon Heavy in February 2018 suit is intended for intravehicular activity use only (IVA type) meant to be worn inside a pressurized spacecraft. Partially designed by superhero costumer Jose Fernandez

  • Boeing Starliner spacesuit (Blue)

  • provides greater pressurized mobility and is about 40 percent lighter than previous suits.

  • The suit’s hood-like soft helmet sports a wide polycarbonate visor to give Starliner passengers better peripheral vision throughout their ride to and from space.

  • Orion Crew Survival Systems Suits

  • Introducing the integrated toilet back into the suit!!!

Chinese suit models

  • Shuguang space suit.

  • Shenzhou IVA (神舟) space suit. The suit was first worn by Yang Liwei 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

  • Haiying (海鹰号航天服) EVA space suit. The imported Russian Orlan-M EVA suit is called Haiying. Used on Shenzhou 7.

Feitian (飞天号航天服) EVA space suit. New generation indigenously developed Chinese-made EVA space suit also used for the Shenzhou 7 mission. Chinese astronauts have 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


  • The MIT Bio-Suit is an experimental space activity suit under construction at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the direction of professor Dava Newman, with support from the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts.

  • Final Frontier Design (FFD) is developing a commercial full IVA space suit, with their first suit completed in 2010.[30] FFD's suits are intended as a light-weight, highly mobile, and inexpensive commercial space suits

  • The I-Suit is a space suit prototype also constructed by ILC Dover, which incorporates several design improvements over the EMU, including a weight-saving soft upper torso

  • The Mark III is a NASA prototype, constructed by ILC Dover, which incorporates a hard lower torso section and a mix of soft and hard components, rewuires no pre-breath

  • NASA's Prototype eXploration Suit (PXS), like the Z-series, is a rear-entry suit compatible with suitports. The suit has components which could be 3D printed during missions to a range of specifications, to fit different individuals or changing mobility requirements

  • in 2012, NASA introduced the Z-1 spacesuit, the first in the Z-series of spacesuit prototypes designed by NASA specifically for planetary extravehicular activity.

India Shows off the Spacesuit its Astronauts Will be Using in 2022

This unveiling came on the heels of the announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during India’s Independence Day celebrations (on August 15th). As he announced, to the surprise of many (including some in the ISRO), India will join the great powers in space by conducting its first crewed mission by 2022.

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