Watch Adam Savage totally geek out comparing US and Soviet spacesuits

Originally published at: Watch Adam Savage totally geek out comparing US and Soviet spacesuits | Boing Boing


We had several US pressures suits and space suits at The Cosmosphere, including one Russian suit from Svetlana Savitskaya. The Russian suits were much lighter and more compact than the American suits.


I think it is because the Russians designed it just to work as effective as possible, the problem with the stuff made for NASA was always that it was designed by the aerospace company that made the best offer, but not neccessary the best design. I mean the Russians are using the Sojus spaceships for some 60 years now, that shit is reliable.


IIRC, the Cosmosphere has several Apollo lunar suits and a Russian Sokol suit.

The Apollo suits are EVA (Extra-Vehicular Activity) suits – suits built for use outside a spacecraft, featuring radiation and micrometeoroid protection, with self-contained life support systems, usually capable of long-duration (multi-hour) spacewalks.

The Sokol suits are IVA (Intra-Vehicular) only. They’re only designed to keep astronauts alive inside a spacecraft in the event of a cabin depressurization. Most IVA suits depend entirely on umbilical supplies from the spacecraft (some allow some very short-term disconnected mobility).

They are not designed to venture outside.

Russia’s Sokol suits are the equivalent of today’s SpaceX crew suit or the Boeing Starliner suit. In-cabin survival only.

The modern American equivalent of the Apollo suit is the ISS-based EMU suits They’re basically self-contained personal spaceships. No umbilicals needed.

The modern Russian EVA suit is the Orlan suit. Like the EMU and the Apollo suit, it’s a much bulkier (but much more capable!) unit than the Sokol or SpaceX or Boeing suits.

(I can geek out about this suff for hours :upside_down_face: )


That’s all true, but IIRC even compared to the shuttle era intra-vehicle suits, the Russian were smaller. I used to be able to quote the weights of the two for tours, but that was over 20 years ago!

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Yeah, the post-Challenger “pumpkin suits” – LES and especially the later ACES – were pretty bulky, it’s true.

ACES was the first US pressure suit that wasn’t specifically tailored to each individual.
They figured they wouldn’t have time for individual tailoring given the launch cadence they were hoping to achieve, so they just had multiple sizes to pick from, and suits were reusable.

And while they were technically IVA-only suits, both suits included parachutes, and they also needed to keep crew alive and afloat in case of ocean bailout. So, yeah, a bit bulky. :wink:

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