Evolution of the Spacesuit

All images taken from Spacesuits: The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Collection, by Amanda Young, photographs by Mark Avino

2 comments to Evolution of the Spacesuit

  • EAST

    Is anyone else wondering which ones were peed in?

  • Jinx

    Asked hubby, he’s up on the space stuff. It’s really hard to positively id some of these suits, as there were covers and outer layers for many of them. Space suits started with high altitude pressure suits for Navy and Air Force test pilots. Pressurized suits were “inflated”, which helped take up the slack in the cloth at the joints, so you could be more mobile. Then we were making hard shell suits, with rotating joints. Some of them allowed for amazing mobility, without adding a great deal of weight.

    There are many layers to space suits, including a Nomex “comfort layer”, a “Link Net” layer, and others which add bulk, function, and weight to the suits.

    While we couldn’t definitely id EVERY suit, we’re pretty sure we’re seeing the following:

    BF Goodrich 1959 full pressure suit
    Another BFG suit which was the basis or prototype for Mercury suit.
    Some Mercury era hard suit prototypes.

    Prototype for Apollo
    Apollo suit with outer garment

    Hard suit prototypes

    Litton RX-4 prototype suit

    International Latex Corp AX1 L competition suit about 1962
    ILC SPD-143 training suits

    Picture #6 appears to be a suit for a specific AF vehicle.

    #7 is Shepard’s Mercury era suit
    #8 is Armstrong’s Apollo suit
    #9 are xrays of some helmets, showing the interior wiring and connections

    The Smithsonian has some really interesting space suits on display. When we were at the Uberhazy last year, they had hard suits on display, including a child sized suit!

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