Space Suit of the Week

the Orange suit worn by astronauts at launch and entry

This week’s suit may not look as exciting as some of the more absurd proposals from the mid-century, or as compelling as some of the creative imagery conjured up by various art folks, but this orange space suit is a workhorse and has been worn by shuttle astronauts since STS-26.

Slate has a great interactive graphic about all the gizmos and parts of this suit, and among the annotations atop the STS-135 crew I learned that a NASCAR flag beat me into space. The suits are bright orange so that the astronauts are easy to find in the event of a water landing. Much of the equipment incorporated into the suit is designed to help the astronaut survive should he or she need to eject from the shuttle during its ascent. A knife, some flares, an emergency radio, paratrooper boots- everything except a survival guide written by Bear Grylls.


July 22, 2011