When sending people to space, one must be sure that absolutely everything is provided for, and the equipment is manufactured at the highest level. Of great importance in space is any detail, especially the spacesuit, which protects astronauts. In the near future, NASA pilots will be able to use spacesuits from Boeing and SpaceX. One of the astronauts shared her impressions of the tests of these spacesuits.
NASA astronauts are delivered to the ISS today with the help of the Soyuz complex. They use “Falcon” suits. Sunita Williams, NASA astronaut, who spent 322 days in space, considers the Sokol spacesuit simply wonderful. However, over the past three years, she worked with Boeing and SpaceX, testing new suits and giving valuable feedback. In her opinion, the novelty slightly exceeds the “Falcon.”
By the end of this year, NASA can trust the delivery of astronauts to the ISS commercial company. It will be Boeing or SpaceX, or maybe both companies at once. Boeing will launch a test ship in November 2018 on the Atlas 5 launch vehicle from the United Launch Alliance. SpaceX will begin tests in December 2018 together with Falcon 9. After successful tests, companies will be ready to launch with people. For them, each has already developed its own spacesuit.
The astronaut's suit must protect it. For this, he supports a certain ecosystem within. The ship helps him in this. Since the ships of SpaceX and Boeing are different, the spacesuits of these two companies also have differences.
The suit to be carried to passengers CST-100 Starliner from Boeing stands out in blue. It is designed for wearing in a sitting position, and it is not very convenient to stand in it. A hood with a zipper will allow hermetically close yourself in a spacesuit if necessary. And most importantly, it's a very light suit. It weighs only 5.4 kilograms instead of the usual 15 kilograms. Sunita Williams noted that it's simply impossible to stand right in this suit. The material does not stretch.
SpaceX's suit proved to be much more comfortable for movement. Williams can not remember another space suit, in which it would be just as convenient to move. Helmet, reminiscent of a motorcycle, is put on top and snaps into place. This is done without too much effort, which is also very much appreciated by the astronaut. Nevertheless, the helmet may not always be near at hand, and in the worst case scenario, death in space can occur in 15 seconds. It's impossible to choose between the two.
They are both different, and both are better than all the spacesuits from the past.
Alas, it's not for the astronauts to choose. All they can do today is to give valuable advice to the companies that are building our cosmic future.