Spacesuits: Three Videos with general information and updates on ILC Dover, Collins Aerospace, Dave Clarke, Oceaneering and SpaceX developments. (Vocabulary at bottom)

The spacesuits used by NASA today are old and have been in need of replacement for over a decade–if not longer. Some of them have actually been a hazard, as they are 1970s’ technology. NASA and her contractors have been working on better suits for the ISS and suit for the moon and Mars. Watch this to learn about hazards to be addressed, suit developments, testing, differences in spacewalk and surface spacesuits, training and time-tables for production as well as about the manufacturers. The First video is from 2023 (Feb); the Second video is a more basic tutorial in spacesuit requirements, limitations and human factors issues & legacy concerns and designs. The Third Video offers more opinionated information with lots of humor and behind-the scenes points of view from our friendly neighborhood space influencer, astronomer, physicist and pilot Scott Manley. You can find basics at the NASA website, here. (The “NASA” link is the general site link.)

Spacesuit Vocabulary

IVA – Intra-vehicular Activity – activity inside the spacecraft, referring to equipment/suit(s) intended to protect the astronaut from cabin pressure failure and/or parachuted descent in-atmosphere
EMU – Extravehicular Mobility Unit (spacesuit for space Station EVA – usually equipped with a SAFER
ACES – Ascent and Entry Suit (the “pumpkin” suit): spacesuit used for launch and reentry; and IVA suit.
MACES – a proposed spacesuit variation of the ACES intended for ascent, reentry and contingency mid-duration contingency scenarios in space
EVA – Extra-vehicular Activity: work outside a spaceship (on a planetary body or in space)
EVA Suit – a spacesuit used for use outside a spacecraft, in space or on surface
SAFER – Simplified Unit for EVA Rescue – q “jet-pack” all ISS astronauts are equipped during EVA, which is for emergency mobility for return to the airlock in the event of detachment from structure due to disconnected tether and loss of tether or proximity
PGF – Pressure Garment: The actual container portion of the suit that seals the astronaut off from the vacuum of outer space or harmful atmosphere of a planetary body
PLSS – Portable Life Support System: basically the machinery in the backpack running the suit, providing respiratory filtration, breathable air, pressure to contain the constitution of the astronaut, drinking water and cooling system
MAG – Maximum Absorbancy Garment: chemically treated diaper which whisks solid waste from the astronaut’s body, crystalizes it and draws it into a lower layer to protect the skin from toxic exposure; this is rarely used, if ever, as no one likes to defecate in his or suit–to the extent that a low residue diet is observed up to a day before EVA. (If you are daring, ask me about my having taken the NASA Space Poop Challenge in 2018–which doesn’t mean I pooped for NASA, but that I attempted to design a waste Management System for the MACES.

This list will grow as I have time to update it.

Published by

Carl Atteniese

Carl Atteniese is a writer, artist, voice actor and ESL tutor from New York in Tokyo.

Thanks for Looking. Can I help you?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.