While visiting Kennedy Space Center I met astronaut Robert Springer. I knew I’d only have time to ask Astronaut Springer one question, so I asked him what surprised him the most the first time he put on a space suit. His answer? “How difficult it is to move.” Suit pressurization and suit mobility often complicate things for the other, but maintaining suit pressure is critical in the vacuum of space and being able to bend your fingers just makes it easier to manipulate tools during spacewalks (one astronaut commented that the limited mobility of pressurized gloves was like trying to perform brain surgery wearing oven mitts.)
The photos above are from tests involving suit mobility. The top picture shows the AX1-A suit in various positions; one of which is reaching for the stars. The lower picture shows a test of a pressurized SPD-143 suit, suspended at an angle so the test subject can walk under gravity conditions similar to the moon’s. Suit engineers used these side-ways puppet experiments to improve the apollo space suit.
P.S. There was also a great article in the NYT ab0ut space suits. I feel like space suits are starting to pop up everywhere.