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Space Technology

DIY Space Suit Testing 37

Kristian von Bengtson is one of the founders of Copenhagen Suborbitals, a private organization dedicated to cheap, manned spaceflight. He says, 'This week the space suit branch of Copenhagen Suborbitals from the U.S. is visiting and testing suits in capsules is being performed." The testing process is being chronicled in a series of articles at Wired. You can take a look at some images of getting suited up, and read about the process in detail. von Bengtson writes, "I have to say this suit is incredible, and wearing it today was a remarkable experience. Not only did it fit like a neatly tailored jacket, you instantly become very aware of isolation, the risks involved in this mission, and the complexity of the suit when the 'visor down' command is effectuated. Even though you have a bunch of people next to you – operating life support and with cameras – you feel all alone and all sounds disappear. They’re replaced by the hissing of the breathing-gas and pressure-gas." There's another article about getting into and out of the capsule while in the space suit, which is quite a complicated procedure. "All three of us tried to perform the fast egress and this was a very intense experience. While pressurized inside the capsule (app 1 psi) arms and legs want to expand your body like a balloon and even just reaching out toward the hatch opening was almost impossible. Each of us spend at least 30-50 seconds on this procedure desperately trying to reach toward anything nearby, feet and leg kicking and general nonsense body-wobbling. A simple procedure like this required all the power and muscle we had while John Haslett tried to keep up with dumping CO2 and adding breathing gas."

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DIY Space Suit Testing

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  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <> on Friday August 23, 2013 @01:24PM (#44657055) Journal

    Spacesuits are a lot more complicated than they look, NASA's suits have a lot of sealed bearings and straps and bellows below the surface to allow easy movement and reduce the ballooning effect: []

  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Friday August 23, 2013 @01:27PM (#44657077)

    Have space suit will travel

  • by Teancum ( 67324 ) <[ten.orezten] [ta] [gninroh_trebor]> on Friday August 23, 2013 @02:52PM (#44657997) Homepage Journal

    Your so-called toilet seat in space is hardly what you think. There are a number of problems with putting an ordinary toilet in an orbital spacecraft that is in a microgravity environment, not the least of which is that water isn't found in the toilet.

    Watch this video and tell me that it can be solved with a $10 seat purchased at Home Depot: []

    There are also reasons why you need to spend months trying to find the right nut for a device, even if it may be something you pick up for a nickle at a local hardware store.

    No doubt there is some substantial management overhead on space projects done by NASA. Just look at how much money it cost to build the Falcon 9 as opposed to the SLS (Sometimes called the Senate Launch System... comparable payloads and overall missions, and the SLS still isn't flying in spite of new incarnations that keep popping up and more money spent on them). I agree that the current culture at NASA tends to gild the lily, but it is also important to note sometimes there is increased complexity simply because stuff is happening in space. Furthermore, low production rates for stuff going into space means that you don't have economies of scale for components like you would for toilet seats purchased by people all over the world.

    Besides, would you actually use a $10 toilet seat purchased at Home Depot? Those things last barely longer than it takes to screw them onto a toilet in the first place. Certainly don't turn one of those over to a bunch of teenagers, as they will destroy the thing in no time flat. Even at Home Depot there are much higher quality toilet seats to purchase, where money counts even for a mass consumer item like that.

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