Learn about the diversity in space suits design. Also learn about zero pre-breath space suit that used in the underwater training at the Johnson space center.
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The Design of Space Suits Throughout Time The flamboyant aviator Wiley Post proved the first real precious suit when he flew his plane the Winnie Mae on a series of high altitude flights in 1935. Years later, many suits for space evolved thanks on Post’s design. There were even designs that never made it. This lunar model was developed at a time when it was uncertain whether the moon’s surface could support a person’s weight. Our first space suits were direct adaptations from navy and air force high altitude, pressure garments. John Glenn, America’s first astronaut to orbit the earth wore one of these during the flight of Friendship 7 in 1962. Later, astronaut Ed White made history as America’s first space walker wear for the first time the suits had to withstand the vacuum of space outside the capsule ever take the astronaut from extreme temperatures and micrometeorites. To land astronauts on the moon, a difference set of functions was required. A full range of physical movement was necessary to carry out exploration of the moon’s surface. These suits were custom made. Each seam was tailored by hand. Gloves were molded from the hands of the astronauts. Cooling was provided by liquid cooled undergarments. The suit consisted of a pressure barrier and multiple layers of thermal, micrometeorite and abrasion resistant material. The shuttle required yet another space suit concept. The modular design can be converted to fit any astronaut. Today, there is much work underway at the Johnson’s Space Center. Testing a zero pre grid suit or ZPS targeted for use on the space station. In the underwater test facility that simulates space conditions, astronaut Jerry Ross helps evaluate new suit components while he’s practicing the assembly of space station structures. This prototype suit eliminates the extensive on board preparation required before working in space with the current shuttle suit. Not only will this be more efficient but the savings in time will allow the astronauts to respond to emergencies immediately. There are trade offs, the pressure in this ZPS suit is approximately twice that than the space shuttle suit. Increased pressure is harder to design for because the suit has to be sturdier. Joints need to be engineered so there is minimal resistance to movements. Across the country, another space suit designer at NASA’s aims research center in California is working on a suit that may someday see application on the space station. Vikiviki Horde has devoted a major part of his career to working on hard space suit technology. The suit can be entered from the rear and is built entirely of aluminum, a good material in space. It shields well against radiation and will hold up to the daily rigors of the space station.
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