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  NASA flight gear: flight suits and jackets (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   NASA flight gear: flight suits and jackets
Spaceguy5
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From: Pampa, TX, US
Registered: May 2011

posted 08-20-2012 11:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceguy5   Click Here to Email Spaceguy5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a reproduction of Rick Husband's nametag which I had made for a display for a museum in Amarillo, TX (Rick Husband's hometown). Note that they used the wrong kind of backing material (polycotton rather than Nomex), however the design is perfect. Here's a view of the flight suit's patches. The Mach 25 patch is a placeholder as the black stitched out slightly misaligned. Eventually I want to add on a flight jacket to the display.

I'm still arranging with the museum when this will be displayed. I'll post another picture when I have it set up.

p51
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From: Olympia, WA, USA
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posted 08-20-2012 03:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting jacket spotted on Rich Clifford in a Neurology magazine (it's hard to see but a larger image showed his nameplate had silver thread for the wings but gold thread for the astronaut pin shape over the crest in the center of those wings, never seen it done like that before).

328KF
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posted 08-22-2012 09:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's the same one referenced upthread. See the photo of Ken Bowersox, and anything you might find of Bruce McCandless at the autograph shows. So far, no one has been able to identify the manufacturer.

These were first issued for the STS-26 crew, but really first seen on STS-29. They were used as in-flight gear too as the old light blue uniform was phased out.

I believe K. Chawla's jacket of this style is on display in a TX museum where the tag is clearly visible, so if we can come up with a close photo, we might be able to determine who made them. One thing I have noticed from the ones I have seen at astronaut public appearances is that they did not hold their color very well. Perhaps this was why they went away.

Philip
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From: Brussels, Belgium
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posted 08-28-2012 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This Heritage flightgear blog has some pictures of the Mercury astronauts in training.

Whizzospace
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From: San Antonio, TX
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posted 09-14-2012 02:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Whizzospace   Click Here to Email Whizzospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was always surprised that in Gemini era images, the flight suits simple had simple text names and MSC affiliation, rather than wings. Probably a topic such a motivated group of military pilots were keen to raise to management.

The first NASA wings I recall seeing were on Jack Schmitt's gold flight suit, while watching the Apollo 17 recovery. He's seen receiving USAF pilot wings in his graduation ceremony from flight school, since the Air Force ran civilian astronaut flight training back then.

And since it's been noted Neil Armstrong only recently received his Naval Aviator Astronaut wings in a 2010 ceremony, did he wear NASA or Navy wings on his flight suit as a NASA civilian?

BMckay
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posted 10-16-2012 03:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BMckay   Click Here to Email BMckay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pam Melroy has a different name tag as well. Any story behind it?

Who should I go to have one made up?

p51
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From: Olympia, WA, USA
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posted 10-16-2012 07:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BMckay:
Pam Melroy has a different name tag as well. Any story behind it?
Her official portrait I found has her in her 'pumpkin' suit and USAF command astronaut wings on her nameplate. Nothing odd there.
quote:
Who should I go to have one made up?
Williams & Williams can make that exact nameplate.

Just go with silver thread and royal blue backing. Real ones are usually made on Nomex fabric, though. They only have USAF command astronaut wings.

BMckay
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posted 10-16-2012 07:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BMckay   Click Here to Email BMckay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is what I was referring to. The red stripes on it.

p51
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posted 10-16-2012 10:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ah! Yeah, I've never seen one of those before either.

I recently talked with a few NASA pilots and was told that when they're getting fitted for their flight suits, there's a board with several different styles of nameplates and they could chose what they wanted, also in variances of colors (for example, current former USN pilots usually chose gold lettering and Army/USAF ones usually go for silver).

I know some aircrew have nameplates with airplane images on them, I've seen people with T-38s and Guppy images on them in the past. That's the first one with a shuttle on it. I, too, would like to know where she got that made if she went outside of NASA for it!

spaceflight institute
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From: Owings, MD USA
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posted 11-11-2012 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceflight institute     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We are putting together an exhibit of spacesuits for a museum exhibit, and I am trying to find a source for a good replica light blue launch/entry coverall (pre-Challenger accident). Any ideas?

Greggy_D
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From: Michigan
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posted 11-11-2012 05:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some of the early Space Camp flight suits were close but not quite dead-on accurate. I have some PDFs of the original NASA Launch/Entry Coverall design docs that I could e-mail to you. I think they may be detailed enough to where you could have a replica made up.

Spaceguy5
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From: Pampa, TX, US
Registered: May 2011

posted 11-15-2012 12:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceguy5   Click Here to Email Spaceguy5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's some pictures and information about a NASA-used BA-22 parachute from the Johnson Space Center.

BA-22 parachutes were used onboard T-38s through the 60's or 70's up until 2003 (when NASA updated their ejection seats and parachute harnesses). The entire unit contains a pilot chute (Type MA-1), main chute (Type C-9), an emergency oxygen bottle, as well as some limited survival equipment. Overall the pack weighs about 30 pounds.

Here's the front and back of the parachute. This particular parachute was number 73. It was manufactured in the early 1990's and used by NASA from 2000 until January or February 2003.

On the front is a back pad which is attached by 4 snap buttons. Beneath the pad, there's access to the log book, rip cord pins, and oxygen bottle.

The log book is stored inside a small pouch and enclosed in a yellow holder. The log book contains a log of all assembly, maintenance, inspections, and repacks of the parachute unit, along with dates and signatures. Standard procedure is to inspect parachutes every 30 days and to completely repack them every 180 days.

The oxygen bottle, type MD-1, is used in the event of an emergency in-flight or during a high-altitude bailout. It can hold about 10 minutes worth of oxygen. A small meter displays how much oxygen is available. Attached to the oxygen bottle is a small hose, which is looped around the parachute and comes out on the front where it attaches to the CRU-60/p oxygen regulator. Both the oxygen regulator and "green apple" are located on the right strap of the harness. Pulling the "green apple" activates a lever which starts oxygen flow. Once activated, it cannot be turned off. The oxygen regulator has a male connector (for attaching to the aircraft oxygen supply), a smaller male connector to attach to the oxygen bottle, and a female connector for attaching to the oxygen mask.

Underneath both arms of the harness are zippers and snap buttons for attaching the LPU-3/p life preservers. The life preservers are activated by pulling the black knobs, which are attached to 2 cords: One pulls out a pin (which holds the unit shut) while the other pulls a lever that punches a hole in a CO2 bottle, causing the unit to inflate.

On the front of the harness are 2 fittings, which attach the parachute lines. After landing, the parachutist can lift up the fittings to detach the canopy.

There are two rip cords on the unit: an automatic ripcord release (red knob) and a manual release (handle). The automatic release, which is stored inside a pouch on the left of the unit, uses a pyrotechnic charge--after a preset timer--to activate the rip cord once the parachutist reaches a pre-set altitude, which is typically between 13,000 and 14,000 ft. In an emergency, the parachutist can use the manual release to instantly release the pilot chute. Both rip cords are fed through flexible metal tubes into the backpack.

The ends of both ripcords are underneath the back pad behind a zipper. At the very end are metal pins which are fed through 2 loops to hold the pack closed. The other side of the loops are on the very back of the pack, also hidden under a zipper. A spring is used to keep tension in the loops so that the pack will not open.

Also on the back of the pack is a small pouch which holds an SRU-16/p survival kit. The pouch is located on the inside of the pack (meaning it can only be accessed after the chute is opened) and is held shut by a snap button. The SRU-16/p is a minimalist survival kit (and holds some fairly unconventional items as you can see from the video) and is intended as a backup survival kit. The main survival kit would be located inside the ejection seat. The harness also holds a hooked blade (for cutting parachute lines. I'm not entirely sure where it is located on the harness) and a beacon, strobe light, and radio (this particular harness did not come with these items).

Here's some videos from 1989 and 1991 of ASCANS training with the BA-22 parachute and LPU-3/p life preservers: Link (No sound), Link (No sound), Link.

Also worth noting, the CRU-60/p oxygen regulator and LPU-3/p life preservers pictured were purchased as surplus, and not NASA-used.

Here's a look at a complete set of flight equipment (note that the oxygen mask isn't attached to the oxygen regulator--the mask I have has the wrong type of connector, so I'll have to replace it later). Front, Front left, Left, Back, Right, Front right.

p51
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From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 11-19-2012 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Museum of Flight in Seattle has display cases at the rear of the FFT display, which had the flight suit of a crewman killed in the STS-107 disaster and the jacket for the commander of the Challenger mission that exploded in ascent. It was quite sobering. Also they had lots of other NASA flight gear which of course I was interested in.

And Deke Slayton's jacket in the main gallery of the same museum:

BMckay
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From: MA, USA
Registered: Sep 2002

posted 12-03-2012 08:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BMckay   Click Here to Email BMckay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I need help getting a high resolution photo of this name tag to get one made up. Can anyone help?

p51
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From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 12-04-2012 05:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've talked about nametags options with several NASA folks and from what I've gathered, that apparently isn't a kind of nametag you could have made at JSC (I've seen photos of the 'sample' board of nametags that crews can choose from). I'd be willing to bet it was made by any of the custom nametape companies out there who cater the military.

I also love the design, though! I'd really like to have a nametag similar to it, myself.

p51
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From: Olympia, WA, USA
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posted 03-29-2013 05:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting shot of the SOFIA astronomer jackets, especially the nameplate.

therockmachine
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posted 03-25-2014 05:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for therockmachine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a picture of my flight jacket as a SOFIA Airborne Astronomy Ambassador; it shows some detail of the unique name patch, the SOFIA patch, and the the SOFIA 12+ km patch given to researchers that fly aboard the observatory.

SOFIA jacket

p51
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From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 03-27-2014 12:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is so cool, who made the jacket? It looks slightly different from the Gibson & Barnes ones...

larry115
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posted 05-02-2014 11:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for larry115   Click Here to Email larry115     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A word about the name tags. Generally, the tags with the rounded corners are made by the Mardon Company in Tucson, AZ, and it you ask them nicely, they will pretty much make you any tag you want (unless it was a tag an astronaut had made privately). They made me an ARIA name tag featuring an EC-135, which was a tag similar to what we see Pam Melroy and Eileen Collins wearing. A Google search will put you in contact with the Mardon Company.

On the other hand, the name tags with the square corners are made by Gibson & Barnes (or Flight Suits). They will gladly make you any name tag you want. As to why certain astronauts wear different name tags, I can only conclude that NASA has no regulation on what tag must be worn (at least within wide guidelines), and that is why you see great disparity in what they are wearing. I've always presumed it was up to each astronaut's preference.

As far as who wore what flight suit when, from 1976 thru about, oh, 1982 or '83, when flying T-38s the astronauts wore flight suits made by a very small company in the Texas bayou a few miles south of the space center called Qualcraft Manufacturing.

This company consisted of two very nice ladies working in a garage with a couple of sewing machines. It was a pleasure to have them make flight suits for me, as when I'd go to pick them up they'd tell me, "It's in that pile in the corner. The names are stapled to the collars."

It was a pleasure to sort through "Young," "Crippen," "Lousma," "Mattingly," etc., until I found my own name. These suits were made out of the same material the light blue shuttle launch and entry suits were made of, a stainless steel-impregnated cotton called "Mountain Cloth." Three percent of the cloth was steel in order to allow the suit to dissipate static electricity.

Sadly, mountain cloth had the strength of wet Kleenex, and these suits didn't last very long. They could stand maybe three or four machine washings before they became frayed and fell apart.

After Qualcraft went out of business, NASA bought from several small companies in a relatively short period of time, before settling on long term purchase from Gibson & Barnes, which continues to this day.

Those of you wondering about the 1990 astronaut class, these particular flight suits were made by a defunct company called Greenbrier (another company called Lite Industries also made these blue flight suits, but they were junk. Avoid a suit made by Lite). In my opinion, the Greenbrier suits were the best post-Apollo flight suits made. They were simply the USAF, USN, and USCG-issue blue flight suit of the 80s and 90s without the epaulets. Sadly, Greenbrier is long gone, but you can find them on eBay (though they are getting rare, probably because I buy every one I can find ).

Lastly, boots. Being Air Force, I can't speak for the Navy astronauts, but I notice that the AF astronauts generally wore the standard USAF issue leather FWU-8P flying boot (even with their launch and entry pumpkin suits) until late in the program. Then they started wearing the Belleville 770 flying boot, which was worn briefly by AF crews until those idiotic green boots became mandatory. Both are the most comfortable boots I have ever worn in my life.

I was issued my first pair of 8P leather boots at Sheppard AFB in 1985 and wore the same pair into the late 90s. They were that good. Finally, a few years ago, I bought a pair of the Belleville 770s, and they are as comfortable as a pair of slippers. I understand why the astronauts continue to wear both.

I hope all this helps!


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