Gigglebit: Charting the history of spacesuit design

2 Mar 2015

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Neil Armstrong dons his MC-2 suit before his first X-15 flight. Image via ethan829

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Gigglebit is Siliconrepublic’s daily dose of the funny and fantastic in science and tech, to help start your day on a lighter note.

If there’s one thing you can say about astronauts, it’s that their attire isn’t necessarily the most fashionable.

Although it’s pretty understandable given that the suits aren’t designed to look cool, but rather prevent your blood boiling and your eyes exploding due to the lack of oxygen in space.

In fact, it has been just over 50 years now since NASA conducted its first spacewalk since its early Gemini missions, the pre-cursor to its infamous Apollo moon landing missions.

And now, with the help of Reddit user ethan829, the evolution of the spacesuit has been given a pictorial history starting from the first high-altitude suit designed by BG Goodrich in 1935 which resembled something like the first diving suits.

As for the future, the next line of spacesuits are likely to resemble Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story film series with its green lines and white suit but while it is most likely to be the most technologically advanced spacesuit ever designed, will it achieve the same popularity as, say, the one used in the Apollo 11 mission?

This journalist says, no. in the meantime however, here are a few examples of the achievements of space engineering.

1935-suit

This suit built in 1935 by BG Goodrich was the third such suit made for aviator Wiley Post who used it to fly to a then world-record 50,000ft.

Neil-Armstrong-Gemini

Neil Armstrong wearing the G2-C, which was used for early training and testing during the Gemini NASA missions.

Ed-White

Ed White making the first US spacewalk in the G4-C spacesuit, connected to the Gemini capsule by an umbilical wire.

Thermal-suit-NASA

An inner suit without the Integrated Thermal and Micrometeoroid Garment (ITMG) worn to protect the astronaut from thermal radiation and punctures issued following the disastrous Apollo 1 mission that killed its entire crew.

Buzz-Aldrin

Buzz Aldrin wearing his spacesuit on the surface of the moon during the historic Apollo 11 mission.

Buzz-Lightyear

The first prototype of the Z-1 suit designed by ILC Dover as part of NASA's aim to create the next generation spacesuit.

All images obtained and collated by ethan829

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Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com