What is an Astronaut Suit and its Purpose
Astronaut suit (or spacesuit) is a specialized garment designed to keep human alive in the conditions of outer space. It consists of components which form equipment that insulates from the harsh environment of open space, vacuum and extreme temperature change.
An astronaut suit is meant to be worn both inside (as a safety precaution) and outside of a spacecraft (extravehicular activity â€“ EVA). Such gear has been used for work in Earth orbit, on the surface of the Moon and on the way back to Earth from the Moon. A self-contained oxygen supply and environmental control system make this work possible.
Space Suits Classification
According to the purpose, there are 3 different types of space suits:
IVA spacesuit (IntraVehicular Activity)
Being lighter and more comfortable, these are designed for intravehicular activity and meant to be worn inside a pressurized spacecraft. They are also called â€˜Transport Suitsâ€™.
Below is the sample of an IVA sci-fi space suit designed by Elon Maskâ€™s Space X company. It’s no secret Musk wants the suits to be as pretty as possible – the ordinary Joe is supposed to imagine wearing it and flying it to Mars.
“If we want to inspire our next generations to go beyond Earth, they need to want to wear these suits.
It’s very easy to make a suit like that to be thick with many elements standing outâ€.
– Elon Musk,
comments on his space x suit
EVA space suits (ExtraVehicular Activity)
This one is probably the most popular type among the others, known from many pictures and posts on the web, as well as space movies and documentaries.
EVA space suit is used for extravehicular activity, for example, planetary exploration or spacewalks. Must protect against all conditions of space, as well as provide mobility and functionality. Also called the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) that includes additional environmental protection, mobility, life support and the communication channel between the astronomers.
IEVA suits (a hybrid of both)
Developed for use both intra- and extravehicular activity (e.g. Gemini G4C suit, see below). They include more protection from harsh conditions of space, such as protection from micrometeorites and temperature extremes.
How much does a space suit cost?
An astronaut suit is not a commercial item, so itâ€™s difficult to determine itsâ€™ actual cost. However, taking into account both design complexity and harsh environmental conditions of outer space, it seems believable that the price for a real spacesuit starts from two million dollars. (Source: Space Suit Evolution (NASA))
For a space enthusiast, like myself, finding a space suit replica for sale on the web may be challenging. Not as challenging as building a model space suit that is almost indistinguishable from the real article, of course, but stillâ€¦
Weâ€™ve searched for the most attractive offers for realistic reproduction of NASA astronaut suit on the Internet and hereâ€™s what weâ€™ve got:
Hope this article was useful â€“ see you next time!