space suit is a garment worn to keep a human alive in the harsh environment of outer space, vacuum and temperature extremes. Spacesuits are often worn inside spacecraft as a safety precaution in case of loss of cabin pressure and are necessary for extravehicular activity (EVA), work done outside spacecraft. Spacesuits have been worn for such work in Earth orbit, on the surface of the Moon, 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.

Three types of space suits exist for different purposes: IVA (intravehicular activity), EVA (extravehicular activity), and IEVA (Intra/extravehicular activity). IVA suits are meant to be worn inside a pressurized spacecraft, and are therefore lighter and more comfortable. IEVA suits are meant for use inside and outside the spacecraft, such as the Gemini G4C suit. They include more protection from the harsh conditions of space, such as protection from micrometeorites and extreme temperature change. EVA suits, such as the EMU, are used outside spacecraft, for either planetary exploration or spacewalks. They must protect the wearer against all conditions of space, as well as provide mobility and functionality.

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Some of these requirements also apply to pressure suits worn for other specialized tasks, such as high-altitude reconnaissance flight. At altitudes above the Armstrong limit, around 19,000 m (62,000 ft), water boils at body temperature and 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 SK-1 suit worn by Yuri Gagarin in 1961.

An astronaut suit does cost a fortune. It’s approximately 12 million US dollars. However, you can say that it’s expensive, but really, the suit is worth every penny. It weighs 21 kilograms and comes built with several costly materials and diverse layers. It also takes years to make a single suit.

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Spacesuits: Facts Everyone Needs To Know

  • There are a lot of things about space suits we need to understand. The first is that the spacesuits of male and female astronauts are the same. The only difference you will notice is the size. For females, the suit size might be smaller.
  • Another thing you might have noticed about space suits is their color. They come in a unique white color. The reason for this is that white can reflect heat one might encounter in space. For the records, the temperature one might experience in outer space under direct sunlight could be as high as 275 degrees Fahrenheit and above.
  • Again, the spacesuit not only takes years to build. It also takes time to wear. An astronaut might spend over 45 minutes wearing this suit and 1-hour breathing oxygen on earth before take-off.
  • Spacewalking astronauts face a wide variety of temperatures. In Earth orbit, conditions can be as cold as minus 250 degrees Fahrenheit. In the sunlight, they can be as hot as 250 degrees. A spacesuit protects astronauts from those extreme temperatures.
  • NASA’s first spacesuits were made for the Mercury program. Mercury was the first time NASA astronauts flew into space. The Mercury suits were worn only inside the spacecraft.
  • Spacesuits for the Apollo program had boots made to walk on rocky ground. The Apollo suits also had a life support system. The astronauts could go far away from the lunar lander because they weren’t connected to it by a hose.
  • Astronauts wear orange spacesuits called “launch and entry suits” during launch and landing of the space shuttle. In space, these suits can be worn only inside the shuttle.
  • An EVA is a spacewalk that takes place outside of a spacecraft. EVA stands for “extravehicular activity.” The first EVA (extravehicular activity, or spacewalk) took place on March 18, 1965, during the Soviet Union’s Voskhod 2 orbital mission when cosmonaut Alexei Leonov first departed the spacecraft in Earth orbit to test the concept.
  • The first EVA that was a moonwalk rather than a spacewalk was made by American astronaut Neil Armstrong on July 20, 1969, during Apollo 11.
  • Twelve men have walked on the moon, two each on six different Apollo missions.
  • Astronauts usually use tethers to keep them attached to the spacecraft while on a spacewalk. The first untethered spacewalk was by American astronaut Bruce McCandless II on Feb. 7, 1984, during Challenger mission STS-41-B.
  • The first woman to perform an EVA was cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya during Soyuz T-12 on July 25, 1984.
  • The longest EVA was 8 hours and 56 minutes, performed by Susan J. Helms and James S. Voss during STS-102 on March 11, 2001.
  • The first EVA where an astronaut performed an in-flight repair of the space shuttle orbiter was by American astronaut Steve Robinson on Aug. 3, 2005, during STS-114. Robinson removed two protruding gap fillers from space shuttle Discovery’s heatshield while the shuttle was docked to the International Space Station.
  • A spacesuit weighs approximately 280 pounds on the ground – without the astronaut in it. In the microgravity environment of space, a spacesuit weighs nothing.
  • 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.
  • Astronaut Ed White wears a spacesuit while floating in space connected to the spacecraft by a tether
  • The reason that spacesuits are white is that 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.
  • No difference exists in a male’s or female’s suit, though the female astronaut usually requires a smaller size.
  • The shuttle spacesuit was designed to be made of many interchangeable parts, to accommodate a large number of astronauts with widely varying body sizes. These parts (upper and lower torsos, arms, etc.) are made in different sizes.
  • Putting a spacesuit on is called “donning” the suit. Removing the suit is called “doffing.”
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