Spacesuits are not anything like ordinary clothes. They are very systematic, specially designed to fulfill essential needs and to protect like a mini spacecraft.
These suits are not only designed to protect but to provide pressure, water, and oxygen.
Life Support System
Like oxygen, water and pressure are essential for our life, Spacesuits are equipped with all these essentials in the Primary Life Support System (PLSS), which is similar to a backpack but a highly specialized one. Hence becoming basic life support during deep space and low Earth-orbit missions.
Different spacesuits for different functions
Spacesuits are of two types, serving different purposes i.e. one is worn inside the spacecraft while the other is worn outside the vehicle and is specifically designed for spacewalks.
The Spacesuits worn inside the Spacecraft are meant for intravehicular activity (IVA). As the environment inside the vehicles is pressurized so there is no need for heavy and high-tech suits. Hence promoting comfortability. These are typically made up of fabrics and are called soft suits.
But once outside the vehicle astronauts have to slip down spacesuits meant for extravehicular activities (EVA). These suits not only serve to protect the subject against harsh environments but also foster many capabilities and portability.
Is it comfortable to wear one?
Imagine yourself going on a long trip but your clothes aren’t comfortable. You probably won’t be able to focus on your expedition and will soon become exhausted.
Spacesuit engineers design their suits while keeping these things in mind. These suites provide an excellent quality of comfort, designed specifically to alleviate the massive efforts required to bend limbs and joints. In addition, they also resist a suit’s natural inclination to stiffen against a vacuum.
Requirements for a safe Spacesuit
- Like the spacecraft, space suits must also have low pressure in them as it assists in moving and portability.
- Pressurized oxygen, ventilation, and removal of carbon dioxide.
- Insulation against temperature variation.
- A communication technology like microphones etc.
- Waste collecting and removing system.
What are the components of modern space suits?
Now let’s discuss the basic components of spacewalk suit along with their uses:
- Gloves are made out of special material (metallic fabric or silicone) for preserving a good sense of touch.
- The helmet plays a key role in pressure confinement and is made up of good quality plastic. It keeps the head stationary.
- Under the helmet is a communication system typically a cap containing earphones and microphones allowing easy flow of communication.
- The Hard upper torso is hard but light and serves as a connection between the inner suit and the Life Support System.
- The Lower torso consists of boots, pants, and a waist bearing. This component helps in bending and rotating at the hips and knees.
In conclusion, Spacesuits are crucial like space crafts and not only provide oxygen, food, water, ventilation and act like a lavatory but also help guard the person inside it from harsh environments and temperature variations.