How Do Astronauts Put on a NASA Space Suit?


Quick Answer

The spacesuit used by NASA separates into two parts, allowing an astronaut to don the legs before climbing into the upper torso module that contains the life-support gear. Before climbing in, however, the astronaut must first put on a spandex cooling and ventilation suit, communications gear, medical sensors and a urine collector. Once the suit is locked, the astronaut adds a helmet and gloves for full protection.

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Full Answer

The many convenient features of the NASA space suit include an integrated reservoir of drinking water accessible through a straw in the helmet, a backup oxygen supply in case the main life-support unit fails, and a patch of Velcro in the helmet to allow relief for itchy noses. The interior of the visor is coated with an anti-fogging chemical, although in at least one case this proved to be a dangerous addition. In 2011 astronaut Andrew Festel applied too much anti-fog spray, leaving a residue in his helmet that irritated his eye during the spacewalk, but he was able to return to the spacecraft safely and flush the affected eye with water.

In the Apollo era, suits included built-in food sticks to provide readily available snacking as well as ports to allow astronauts to eat or drink while wearing a full pressure suit. Since modern astronauts only wear pressure suits for short-duration EVA activities, these amenities were removed in later designs.

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