How does a human survive in outer space, outside the protective shield of Earth’s atmosphere, the endless void of cold black nothingness, an environment where no life as we know it can survive? And yet humans have stepped into that void, our infinite vulnerabilities and we have actually lived to tell the tale of hundreds of excursions into the cosmic void over six decades of human space flight.
No person has ever died in space, so let’s talk about the development of spacesuits, this is the space race, so the basic idea is to survive in an environment as far away from the Earth’s surface as close to Earth’s environment as possible. Bring your air purifier with you, which means that the ambient pressure, air quality and temperature will all remain the same throughout your trip.
This is something that humans began to explore long before space flight, in the year 1932, a Swiss physicist named August Picard decided that he would push the limits of the human experience and reach 16,000 meters or 52,000 feet in helium. Will reach to. Picard was clever enough to know that there was not enough atmosphere to survive at that altitude, so he built an aluminum sphere and pressurized it with compressed air, which would be enough for anyone climbing the mountain. person or even he could. It knows, I’ve seen other people climb mountains on TV.
As you go higher in the sky the air gets thinner and it becomes more difficult to breathe in enough oxygen but an even more dangerous side effect of higher altitude is the decrease in ambient pressure that results from the lower density in the atmosphere. The boiling point of a liquid is determined by the two main factors temperature and pressure, the lower the ambient pressure, the lower the temperature at which the liquid turns into vapor. Humans are made up of mostly liquids and we like to put it that way.
At 63,000 feet or nineteen thousand meters above sea level the ambient pressure drops to the point where water can only boil at 37 °C or 99 Fahrenheit which is normal human body temperature, so it doesn’t matter at this point. It doesn’t matter how much oxygen you take in, if you have to breathe without pressure you’re going to have a pretty bad day, so swimming under a balloon in a pressure vessel is one way to do that, but if you were younger So what would have been more like an airplane? Want to push the boundaries with control in something.
So let’s talk about Willie Post who was an American pilot who was the first person to fly solo around the world, he was a bit wicked and adventurous you can tell by being blindfolded and One-Eyed Willie did his own Custom supercharged. Airplane named Winnie May. This souped-up machine had the power to reach an altitude of 15,000 metres, where Wiley knew he could ride the jet stream to travel higher and faster than any of his aircraft could be capable of the task. Be prepared, but he was smart enough to know that his body was not that strong.
So Willy Post teamed up with automotive tire manufacturer BF Goodrich to design the first pressure suit in 1934. The body of the suit had three layers, starting with long underwear, which was covered with black rubber on the inside. air pressure bladder and an outer layer made of rubberized parachute fabric, the outer layer was affixed to a frame with arm and leg joints, allowing him to operate the flight controls and move through the aircraft attached to the frame , where pigskin gloves were rubber boots .
and a scuba diver’s helmet made of aluminum and plastic, now the first real pressure suit that was not made at home by a one-eyed lunatic in a tire shop, was made by the US Air Force when the first high-altitude bombers were developed were mid- done. Large aircraft such as the B-36 Peacemaker of the 1940s were capable of reaching altitudes of over 40,000 feet, at that time oxygen masks alone were not sufficient to keep the crew functional, and while the interior cabin of these aircraft would be similar to a commercial The same pressure was exerted on the aircraft.
This bomber was meant for active combat and any damage to the outer shell could cause a rapid depressurization event, so the crew would need their own pressure suits with fully enclosed helmets, mid-50s By then the US had developed its U2 spy plane, which could fly at a staggering altitude of 21,000 meters or 69,000 feet above sea level, far above Soviet radar and missile capability, a new flight suit for the U2 pilots. was developed that would maintain their body pressure throughout the mission and allow them to withstand extreme altitudes. , But will stop their blood from boiling. The space race officially first began in the late 1950s.
With both the United States and the Soviet Union developing technology that would not only take a man into outer space but also bring him back home alive, it was the really tricky part that the US Air Force did with their X ultra-high-speed rocket. did in experiments. High altitude flight had begun. To survive these hypersonic missions to the edge of the atmosphere the even more advanced fully pressurized flight suit xmc2 was developed and this is where the modern image of the spacesuit really begins to take shape.
Sure we’re talking a lot about American technology here, but the first real spacesuit was worn by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin aboard Vostok 1, when the Soviet circled Earth at 27,400 kilometers per hour in a 108-minute flight. Victory was claimed in the first phase of the space race, orbiting the Yuri suit, which was crucial to his survival on that mission because even though the capsule maintained pressure throughout the flight, the Vostok capsule landed safely on Earth.
Hence the pilot had to descend at an altitude of 23,000 feet and the rest had to parachute. After it was officially formed in 1959, NASA began working on developing its own spacesuit using the existing Air Force pressure suit as its template, this was the first innovation that NASA scientists made in spacesuit design. I had brought That was to replace the outer shell of the Air Force suit. Aluminized nylon was used for better thermal insulation and he removed the rubber seal, separating the helmet from the rest of the suit.
Air was pumped in from the waist to help cool the suit via airflow This was the suit used by the Project Mercury astronauts, their flight plan to reach orbit and come down again relatively simple The spacesuit was only there as a protective measure in case the capsule lost pressure, but luckily that never happened, it wasn’t until Project Gemini where things got real for NASA, it was time to leave the capsule and Now astronauts need a spacesuit that will actively keep them alive in the vacuum of space.
Now again it is important to note that the Soviet Union also achieved the first spacewalk before NASA, on March 18, 1965, Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov became the first person to leave a space capsule and float. Going freely into orbit was a learning experience for a whole new area of human space exploration because no one had tried using a pressurized suit in a complete vacuum before, so what happened to Alexey was that his suit Puffed up like a balloon, he was barely able to move. He could not even reach the shutter of his camera. And worst of all, the suit grew so large that it couldn’t fit back inside the Vostok capsule.
So Alexey had to release his atmosphere into space in order to shrink. Enough to squeeze through the airlock and back to the safety of his vehicle, two months after astronaut Ed White’s turn to enter the void, Ed White had a much easier time on his execution rather than a heavy life. Like the Soviet White, the support backpack for life support was bundled into the capsule, and NASA’s advanced spacesuit design for Gemini incorporated a mesh into the suit’s outer structure, to prevent the ballooning problem.
White worked smoothly through the vacuum using a handheld air pressure gun. As a control thruster the mission was a resounding success, NASA would take advantage of the Gemini mission to learn as quickly as possible about extra-vehicular activity in space, with President Kennedy promising that Americans would be the first to walk on the Moon. It’s the late 1960s and NASA didn’t want to let JFK’s dream die with the man, so he moved into the first lunar space suit, his most demanding job ever.
This included the life support system, the Gemini mission’s tethering cables didn’t cut it for exploring the Moon, so the astronauts needed large backpacks, yet they still had to balance and move freely in a low-gravity environment, But even if they get the balance right. There was still the possibility that the astronauts were going to fall on the Moon, so there was a need to make the suit more tough, a new material of woven silica fibers coated with Teflon was developed as the outer shell.
The new suit had a tight-fitting system of bellows and mechanical joints inside the lunar orbit to give the astronauts complete mobility under pressure, the inner layer of the suit was connected to a network of cooling tubes that circulated water. It is used to dissipate the astronaut’s body heat on Earth’s gravity. The suit weighed 35 kg and the backpack weighed 60 kg, for a total of 209 pounds. This suit brought Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the surface of the Moon. NASA’s first real victory in the space race, but it was a sure victory.
NASA gradually improved its spacesuit design using its experience from the Apollo missions, but none of the 12 men who walked on the Moon had any problems with their spacesuits. The space shuttle program was that humans were now going to live and work in outer space on a regular basis, a constant presence in low earth orbit and this again would require an improved spacesuit design that would allow us to be exposed to the vacuum Could give Long duration spacewalk.
and the Sun’s unrelenting intensity, the Apollo suits were again used as the basis for the Additional Vehicle Mobility Unit or EMU that would be attached to the Space Shuttle. Because these suits were made specifically for use in zero g, they Will be much heavier and more rigid than the Apollo design. The EMU was built with a modular design in which each component was individually sized so that any astronaut could customize the suit to suit their own body shape. Emu also had the ability to build a new jetpack.
A design that allowed astronauts to float freely in outer space without being tethered to their vehicle, although this unit was eventually retired as being a bit too dangerous, these emu suits were put to their final test When the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed in 1990. The idea behind Hubble was to increase the lifetime and functionality of the orbital platform so that it could be regularly serviced by Space Shuttle astronauts, which would require long and complex spacewalks on Hubble which is about 340 miles above sea level.
To train for these spacewalks, a hundred miles above the ISS, NASA developed its neutral buoyancy laboratory, this pool of water that you see astronauts practicing it in for decades, when the space shuttles operated, Therefore these emu suits were continually upgraded with advanced protection features. A simplified maneuvering thruster system, an upgraded battery and improved heating in the glove section of the suit, these are the same suits used for space boxes on the ISS to this day, in fact there has been no significant redesign of the American spacesuit until now.
March 15, 2023 Axiom Space unveils long-awaited redesign of NASA’s Extra Vehicle Mobility Units, a new spacesuit that will take humans to the lunar surface again on the Artemis 3 mission, Axiom Design contracted by NASA only lacked the resources and to design their own lunar suit in the modern era, Axiom has essentially taken everything they learned through the Emu era and the spacewalks they did on the shuttle and ISS, then they packed that technology into a suit that would give astronauts mobility.
They were required to work on long-duration missions to the Moon, What distinguishes Artemis from Apollo is the new directive to establish a permanent presence on the Moon, so instead of staying on the surface for a few hours and then coming home, Artemis The crew members would live and work on the Moon for up to a week, so it would require a spacesuit with a high level of comfort and durability, as well as the mobility that would be needed to build the first Moon base, which Now all that remains is to imagine the future and the future.
The first spacesuit that would allow humans to walk on the surface of Mars.