The spacesuit is a staple of space travel, equally imprinting itself onto culture. From music to art and onto fashion the spacesuit has become a symbol synonymous with space travel, the great beyond and humankind's conquests into space.
You can even buy a space suit at your local costume store or pick up a pair of Nike's Moon Racer if you are feeling fashionable.
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However, at its most functional level, the spacesuit serves the simple purpose of keeping astronauts safe in space. Nevertheless, how much do you know about the spacesuit and its short but dense history? But, first, let's start with the basics.
What is a Spacesuit?
The same way you wouldn't wear a shirt and jeans to a black-tie event is the same way you would not want to wear your everyday clothing in space. Sure, you can go ahead and try but a few things are sure to go wrong. Spacesuits serve many different purposes while astronauts are in space.
Spacesuits keep astronauts safe from space's unforgiving environment, protecting them from getting too hot or cold, and even oxygen to breathe. Costing upwards of 12 million dollars, space travel would not be possible, if it were not for the creation of the spacesuit. So, what else should you know about the spacesuit?
You Can Survive in Space Even Without a Spacesuit ...Sort of
So yes it is possible to survive in space without a spacesuit but only for a short period of time. If you decided to take the bold leap into space without the proper protection, you would not die instantly. However, we can't say you would last longer than 15 seconds. Your blood won't boil or instantly freeze, rather you would just inflate and suffocate within that 15 seconds. So bring your spacesuit with you.
A Spacesuit Is Comprised of Many Different Parts
Parts of the spacesuit covers all aspects of the astronaut's body including the arms, head, chest, feet, legs, etc. Nevertheless, each part of the suit serves a specific purpose ranging from providing oxygen to protecting from space dust.
Spacesuits Protect From Radiation
Solar radiation is a serious threat in space and that where the spacesuit comes into play. On earth, humans are protected by this continuous solar radiation because of the earth's magnetic field. Though astronauts are not completely protected, the spacesuit does an excellent job of keeping humans safe for short periods of time.
Spacesuits Work by Providing a Stable Interior Pressure
As mentioned before, your body will inflate while in space. the spacesuit primary function is to provide a pressurized environment for an astronauts body so as to stop it from inflating.
This is done in the spacesuit, by providing a layer of elastic rubber-like material and also by using pressurized oxygen. This also improves the mobility of the astronaut.
Spacesuits are Puncture Proof
Even the smallest space debris can be traveling at speeds of up to 27,000 kilometers per hour, threatening the lives of astronauts in space. Spacesuits protect astronauts from small debris, space junk, and meteorites zooming around in space.
Entering Earth's Atmosphere
Astronauts wear orange spacesuits called, "launch and entry suits" when they leave earth and they arrive back on earth. However, these suits can only be worn inside the space shuttle.
Spacesuits Need are Able to Contain Bodily Waste
You probably have always wondered what exactly happens when an astronaut needs to pee, well today, you have got your answer. If you are on a spacewalk while in a spacesuit and suddenly need to pee, it is possible to do so. Pouches installed in space suits are used to contain urine.
The Apollo Spacesuits had Boots and They Looked Cool
Understanding that the men involved in the lunar mission needed to walk on the rough lunar surface, space suits were created with specialized boots. Even more interesting, these iconic boots have been responsible for a host of trends in fashion and design, with some brands going as far as recreating the shoe for streetwear.
Astronauts Wear Spacesuits While Inside their Spacecraft
Spacesuits are not just worn in the void of space, but spacesuits are worn while astronauts are inside the spacecraft during launching, reentering, landing, and connecting to a space station. No one flies in their sweatsuit. The purpose of flying in a spacesuit is to protect the astronaut in case of a sudden loss of pressure.
Mercury Suits Were All The Rage
NASA's first spacesuits were made for the Mercury Program or the first human spaceflight program of the United States. The program put the first American astronauts in space for suborbital flights. The Mercury suits were only worn inside the spacecraft.
The First Spacesuit was Soviet SK-1
However, the first spacesuit ever worn by a human was the Russian SK-1 spacesuit. It was worn by Yuri Gagarin in 1961 during the first-ever space flight conducted by a human.
Spacesuits Evolved from Flight Suits
Before the official emergence of the space suit, fighter pilots and test pilots had been using flight suits for very high altitude flights. In fact, the flight suit pioneers of the 1930s led to the development of spacesuits that were used in the '60s.
How do you think modern spacesuit will evolve in the coming future?