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  Photo of the week 441 (April 6, 2013)

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Author Topic:   Photo of the week 441 (April 6, 2013)
heng44
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Posts: 2564
From: Netherlands
Registered: Nov 2001

posted 04-06-2013 01:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Suit technician Joe Schmitt prepares the pressure suits for STS-4 astronauts Mattingly and Hartsfield, shortly before launch in June 1982. It was to be the final flight where the crew would wear pressure suits for launch and entry and Schmitt would retire in December of that year, after a career that began with Alan Shepard's Mercury flight in May 1961.

Ed Hengeveld

carmelo
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Posts: 792
From: Messina, Sicilia, Italia
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 04-06-2013 10:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
He thinks: "Are very similar to the Gemini suits of good old time"!

Someone know because the color of these suits switched from orange to brown shortly before STS-1 launch? I have read that in early 1981 was chosen a new overgarment in a fireproof cloth called "polybenzemidazole," the same used for Skylab flying suits, that only came in brown colour. Is true?

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

posted 04-06-2013 11:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to "Dressing for Altitude" by Dennis Jenkins (NASA SP-2011-595):
David Clark Company fabricated the suits during March 1979 in five sizes to fit the 12 astronauts assigned to the OFT flights. Interestingly, five of the suits used gold Fypro covers and eights used functionally identical dark-gold Polybenzimidazole (PBI) covers.
Dark gold PBI suits were sized for Young, Crippen, Engle, Truly, Lousma, Fullerton, Mattingly and Hartsfield. Gold Fypro suits were issued to Haise, Brand, Weitz and Overmyer, as well as was used on a certification suit.

No specific reason is cited for the different materials used.

Lou Chinal
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Posts: 946
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 04-07-2013 01:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ed, it's funny that you should post this photo now. I was speaking to Joe Schmitt on the phone (yes, he answered himself) about three weeks ago. He still lives at the same address and still has the same phone number, in Friendswood, Texas.

heng44
Member

Posts: 2564
From: Netherlands
Registered: Nov 2001

posted 04-07-2013 02:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lou, I read that and it prompted me to look up an old Joe photo...

carmelo
Member

Posts: 792
From: Messina, Sicilia, Italia
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 04-07-2013 07:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Dark gold PBI suits were sized for Young, Crippen...
But in official STS-1 photo (I think take in 1979) Young and Crippen have the orange colored (gold fypro?) suits.

DG27
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Posts: 20
From: USA
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 05-06-2013 11:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DG27     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The S1030A Ejection Escape Suits (EES) were all originally made with the fypro treated nomex, so they had the golden color which is officially called "old gold." The color comes from treating white nomex fabric with Fypro. The PBI fabric is a medium brown color as can be seen in the photo above. Prior to the STS 1-4 flights, the suits for the flights had the coverlayers replaced with ones made from PBI. PBI has better thermal tolerance than the fypro treated fabric.

However, the gloves were not replaced (not sure why). In the photo above you can see one of the fypro gloves in the middle of the table. Launch and landing day photos show the crew suits with the darker PBI coverlayers but using the lighter "old gold" colored gloves.

Also since the suits were originally made with the fypro "old gold' coverlayers, the cuff of the suit legs which are part of the pressure restraint layer and not the coverlayer remained the fypro "old gold" fabric. These leg cuffs can be in side and rear views of the suits, but are covered by the lower leg pocket of the coverlayer in front views of the suits.

The crew portraits were taken early when the suits still had the original fyrpo treated "old gold" coverlayers. Orange coverlayers were not used on this suit.

All times are CT (US)

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