Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Hardware & Flown Items
  Disposition of Sokol and ACES space-flown suits?

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Disposition of Sokol and ACES space-flown suits?
COR482932
Member

Posts: 117
From: Cork, Ireland
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 11-11-2013 05:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for COR482932   Click Here to Email COR482932     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After the safe landing of the Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft in Kazakhstan yesterday, Roamin Charles of the European Space Agency posted a photo of Luca Parmitano's Sokol launch and entry suit (minus the astronaut himself) lying on the ground at the landing site.

This leads me to ask the question I have been curious about for quite some time now — What actually happens to the launch and entry suits worn by astronauts/cosmonauts after they return to Earth? Answers can include both Soyuz and Shuttle.

Are they reused? Charles told me: "As far as I could see, Roscosmos took it back. I would have took it back otherwise."

Thanks guys!!

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-11-2013 05:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Like most other space shuttle-era hardware, the LES/ACES pressure suits were reused. There were 48 LES and 62 ACES suits fabricated for use during the space shuttle program (source: Dressing for Altitude by Dennis Jenkins).

As the space shuttle program came to an end, museums were offered outer layer and complete LES/ACES assemblies for display. NASA still maintains however, a set of ACES for training purposes and development use (Orion and commercial crew spacecraft fit checks, for example).

Russian Sokol suits are sized and fabricated for the individual and to my knowledge are not reused (at least not for spaceflight; some are used again for ground training).

Roscosmos has sold some of the flown suits — either through auction (Sotheby's in 1996, for example) or directly to their wearers (Dennis Tito purchased his and then donated it to the National Air and Space Museum). Others have ended up in other sales and in private hands, though it is not always clear the sales are Roscosmos-sanctioned.

Interestingly, while NASA pays for the fabrication of the Sokol suits that its astronauts wear, the U.S. space agency does not own the suits and they remain in Russia post-flight.

p51
Member

Posts: 1118
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 11-11-2013 06:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know the majority of Apollo A7L-series suits were given to the Smithsonian, would the same apply to the ACES and earlier shuttle suits? Are any on display at the Smithsonian, if indeed they have any?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-11-2013 06:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Smithsonian has changed its approach to acquisitions since Apollo, and now (mostly) only accepts into its collection what it plans to display (at least in regards to NASA artifacts for which there are multiples).

The National Air and Space Museum exhibits an unflown LES suit in the McDonnell Space Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. You can see it in this photo.

Kocmoc
Member

Posts: 28
From: Washington, DC USA
Registered: May 2005

posted 11-18-2013 03:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kocmoc   Click Here to Email Kocmoc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The LES that was on display at the Hazy Center is now on display in the Moving Beyond Earth gallery downtown. As recently as a decade ago all Sokol suits, absent patches and gloves returned to JSC Zvezda for testing and use. the bladders are never reflown, but the exteriors were reused for flight testing and training. When astronauts purchased the suits, they purchased from Zvezda, not Roskosmos. The interesting thing is that when NASA astronauts were launching on Soyuz and returning on the Shuttle, NASA could claim possession of the suits.

As I said, this was the situation ten years ago. I think that the spacesuit economy has loosened up. It strikes me that an increasing number of returning astronauts are carrying around what they refer to as "their own" Sokol suit.

------------------
Cathleen S. Lewis

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-18-2013 03:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kocmoc:
The interesting thing is that when NASA astronauts were launching on Soyuz and returning on the Shuttle, NASA could claim possession of the suits.
Are there any examples of this happening? Because I've been told by both NASA managers and Soyuz-flown astronauts that the opposite was true: despite the U.S. space agency paying for the suits, they were never U.S. property (which led to some sketchy sales of U.S. astronaut Sokol suits on eBay and through Russian memorabilia dealers...)

Kocmoc
Member

Posts: 28
From: Washington, DC USA
Registered: May 2005

posted 11-18-2013 03:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kocmoc   Click Here to Email Kocmoc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The specific instances that I know of were during the Shuttle Mir missions. Both Norman Thagard and Shannon Lucid's suits reverting to NASA. Thagard's suit is in the Air and Space Museum's collection. I believe that Lucid's suit remains at JSC.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-18-2013 04:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I seem to recall NASA having to actively pursue getting those suits, it wasn't just a given that they were NASA property, but I may be misremembering.

I know that Lucid's training Sokol is in private hands, part of the Kaller Exploration of Space Collection.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2014 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement