The design of the space ‘looks’ has changed to facilitate the work of astronauts and guarantee their safety
A few ago sixty yearsAt the takeoff of the first great space race, humanity began to explore what was beyond our planet. while some they prepared the rockets and calculate the orbits of the shipsothers had to dedicate themselves to a seemingly trivial task but just as important: the design of space suits, a key element to protect astronauts and ensure mission success.
so they have evolved astronaut suits from the dawn of the space race to the present and arriving, of course, to the ‘looks’ that will mark the future of space exploration. Like the ones worn by the first women to set foot on the Moon.
Gagarin’s orange jumpsuit
The first man in space was cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. He April 12, 1961, the Russian entered the history books as the protagonist of the first manned space flight in history. He did it with a suit of a bright orange color of nylon (which, in an emergency, could be inflated and serve as a life preserver for you at sea). The ‘look’ also included leather boots, gloves and headphones; a mirror sewn into one of the sleeves so that the astronaut could see all the switches on the rocket; you helmet with white visor that could be detached from the main suit.
The second space ‘look’ that humanity could see was the one that wore John Glenn when he became the first American to travel to space. In this case, the astronaut made history with a showy silver nylon suit, created from several lightweight layers and designed to absorb pressure changes produced at high altitude. The central part of the clothing included a total of thirteen zippers. Also includes gloves, boots, and a custom-made helmet.
Gemini under the temperature
The next great spacesuit revolution came with the gemini program: the second great manned space project promoted by the United States. There he began to experiment a little more with alien ‘looks’. In fact, several prototype suits were designed (of which only three made it off the ground). All the ‘outfits’ of this generation were white. In many cases, they incorporated Point in favor, it was the first time that harder and more resistant fabrics were used to manufacture these dresses. Point against, the structure overheated easilythe helmet fogged up due to the humidity and, in general, the assembly made it difficult for the astronauts to move.
At the end of the sixties, with the takeoff of the apollo program, humanity is required to step on the Moon. This challenge required a ‘look’ safer and more versatile than the previous ones. For this reason, at the headquarters of the US space agency, various suit prototypes. The first, known as the Mark V, was military Green. With a plastic accordion located in one of the arms to facilitate the mobility of the astronauts. On paper, the suit worked perfectly. But as soon as it was put to the test, it was found to be unfeasible to take into space because, for example, it made it difficult for space travelers to move in enclosed spaces.
One of the most iconic suits in space exploration is, of course, the one worn by the first men to set foot on the Moon: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. American astronauts turned heads around the world wearing white padded suits created from different layers. The first was a nylon mesh designed to cool astronauts’ bodies. The next layers were to ensure pressurization of the suit and protect from temperature extremes. The ‘look’ was completed with rubber tipped gloves (like those used to type on the mobile in winter), an external helmet and a backpack with life support.
in the eighties, with the launch of the famous space shuttle, the design of the alien ‘outfits’ changed again. There the longest-lived suits to date were devised. The idea of carrying different ‘looks’ for different moments of the mission: from the soft suits used in the takeoff phases (when good mobility is needed) to the pressure suits that allow spacewalks. The concept behind these suits has remained virtually unchanged for forty years. In fact, it is the type of clothing that is still used on missions to the International Space Station.
In 2020, the American company SpaceX surprised the world with a double surprise. On the one hand, he presented his new Crew Dragon spacecraft and, on the other hand, he announced that all the astronauts who would go aboard this aircraft they would wear a new spacesuit. SpaceX’s suit has been described as one of the most «cinematic» presented to date. It consists of a bright white suit, with gray details and minimalist design.
The last great spacesuit revolution It has been presented this Wednesday by NASA and Axiom. It is a shiny white suit that integrates, among other things, a ‘fishbowl’ helmet and a life support backpack. As explained by those responsible for this project, the prototype presented this week is only to illustrate the shape of the suit. The final design details they will be announced shortly before the mission takes off (by then, the space suit will already be completely white). This ‘outfit’, presented as the most revolutionary of the last forty years, is the suit that the first women to set foot on the Moon will wear as part of the Artemis programme.