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Author Topic:   Space station EVA spacesuits

Posts: 575
From: Belgium
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 02-16-2008 07:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dirk   Click Here to Email Dirk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does every spacewalker in the ISS use the same space suit, or is this suit brought with every new STS flight?

In this case what happens with the other suits, are they brought back to earth and what happens with them?


Robert Pearlman

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-16-2008 07:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At any given time, there are three U.S. suits on the space station. They are not crew member specific, but can be resized to fit (some crew members may have custom gloves or may wear the gloves sized for similarly proportioned astronauts).

So long as the shuttle is still flying, the suits are rotated, serviced on the ground and re-launched. When the shuttle stops flying, we will lose the capability to return them.

Last June, I wrote an article about the fate of the space shuttle EMUs (of which there have been a total of 16* in program history): Historic shuttle spacesuits to meet fiery end.

* Counting suits is a bit of a misnomer because a complete suit really doesn't exist as a unit. Different components are mixed and matched, thus the number 16 refers to the most limited of the parts, the life support backpack.

(Of course, the above is limited to U.S. spacesuits. Russian Orlans are also not crew member specific. They are launched on Soyuz or Progress spacecraft and then at the end of their life cycle, allowed to burn up with other refuse in returning Progress vehicles. Only one Orlan spacesuit has ever been returned to Earth, aboard the space shuttle, for study.)

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