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NASA Space Science

NASA's First New Spacesuit In 20 Years Is Its Own Airlock 164

Zothecula writes "The current U.S. space suit used by NASA is a dinosaur. Designed in 1992, it was only ever intended to be used by crews aboard the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS). That may have been good enough in the days of 14 kps modems, but with eyes turning increasingly toward missions to the Moon, Mars and the asteroids, space explorers need something better. That's why NASA is designing its first new suit in twenty years. Developed by NASA's Advanced Exploration Systems (AES), the Z-1 prototype space suit currently undergoing vacuum testing at the Johnson Space Center is a wearable laboratory of new technology. And it's a hatchback."
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NASA's First New Spacesuit In 20 Years Is Its Own Airlock

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  • snide remark.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 27, 2012 @12:40AM (#40787189)

    20 years old and it is a dinosaur? You young'ins are obsessed with the Shiny.

  • Why even bother... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stretch0611 ( 603238 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @12:48AM (#40787235) Journal

    As much as I value the space program, I am questioning the need for designing a new space suit.

    Congress constantly targets NASA for budget cuts...

    With its limited budget NASA seems more interesting in robotic flights instead of manned flights. They seem to be using more things like the Mars Rover.

    We do not even have a space fleet right now. The shuttles have been mothballed and sold off as museum pieces and we now send people to the space station by buying them passage on soviet vessels launched out of Kazakhstan.

    The future of manned space flight seems to be private industry in the US. How come NASA is spending the money designing suits instead of the future space companies?

  • Meh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Altanar ( 56809 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @12:55AM (#40787269)
    Was hoping for something more like this: http://mvl.mit.edu/EVA/biosuit/ [mit.edu]
  • by leftie ( 667677 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @01:06AM (#40787327)

    ...the government pays 3 times as much for private business to provide half the service that was being provided, and a few Anglo-Saxon guys pocket the rest of the cash.

  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @01:38AM (#40787471)

    The greatest advantage to this is speed. No pre-breathing and cycle time in a big airlock. You could be out in space in minutes it sounds like, or less.

    The other great advantage is that one person should be able to put on their own suit - now, it takes substantial help from a partner.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 27, 2012 @01:43AM (#40787505)

    You also avoid tracking anything that gets onto the suit into the vehicle with these things. The Apollo crews can tell you how big a deal that is for a mission of any duration, and it looks like Mars dust is if anything worse.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 27, 2012 @02:24AM (#40787687)

    Because governments spend money to make things that do not generate profit. Thats one of the reason FOR a government. It is not a business. It is for the public good. This space suit will not generate money, it will generate science. Knowledge. You know, things that we are beneficial for mankind, yet make no money on their own. A corporation would be sued by its share holders for doing something like that. Unless it had a clear profit motive.

    The "space companies" will be sending satellites into orbit (or tourists), not going to Mars. They will be in it for the money. When WE, as a PEOPLE, want to go to another planet, we need a government to do it.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Friday July 27, 2012 @02:43AM (#40787755)

    Congress constantly targets NASA for budget cuts...

    Congress cuts NASA's budget when the money is not being spent in enough Congressional Districts. NASA isn't about space to Congress. To them it is about getting federal money spent where it helps them get re-elected.

    So if the new space suit is constructed of components built in all 435 Congressional Districts, the budget for the suit will not be cut. Really simple, isn't it?

    The 1st Congressional District of New Jersey, Camden County, gets to make the middle finger of the right hand! Youse guys gotta prowblem wid dat?

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