Why is spacesuit technology important?
A spacesuit protects astronauts from those extreme temperatures. Spacesuits supply astronauts with oxygen to breathe while they are in the vacuum of space.
The suits contain water to drink during spacewalks. They protect astronauts from being injured from impacts of small bits of space dust.
Space Suit functions
Astronauts need to wear a spacesuit with various functions to protect themselves from numerous elements of the harsh environment, such as vacuum, heat and infrared radiation.
Space suits are one of the most technologically advanced pieces of equipment designed for humans. These suits allow astronauts to perform spacewalks and carry out various tasks in the harsh environment of space.
Some high tech technologies go into creating a space suit.
Life Support Systems
The most critical component of a spacesuit is its life support system. It provides the astronaut with oxygen, regulates temperature, and removes carbon dioxide. This system is essential for survival in the vacuum of space where there is no air to breathe.
The spacesuit’s mobility joints are specially designed to allow astronauts to move freely and perform various tasks in space. These joints are made of metal bellows that are flexible and allow for a full range of motion.
Spacesuits are made of multiple layers of materials to protect the astronaut from extreme temperatures, micrometeoroids, and other hazards in space.
The outer layer is made of a tough material like Nomex or Kevlar, while the inner layer is made of a soft material that is comfortable to wear and helps regulate temperature.
Water Cooling and Ventilation System
Spacesuits are equipped with a complex water cooling and ventilation system that helps regulate the astronaut’s body temperature and keep them comfortable during spacewalks.
This system circulates water through tubes in the suit, which cools the body and removes excess heat, preventing overheating and fatigue.
Internal fire extinguisher
Even though spacesuits are built to be fire resistant, spacesuits are equipped with a built-in fire extinguisher to ensure the safety of astronauts during spacewalks.
In the unlikely event of a fire inside the spacesuit, the fire extinguisher provides a safe and quick way to extinguish the flames and prevent further damage.
The use of a fire extinguisher in a spacesuit is a last resort measure and should only be used in extreme circumstances.
Just like how we feel during a flight or while taking a fast elevator, astronauts will experience sinus pressure as well.
While wearing the bulky suit during a spacewalk, astronauts have a special foam pad call a Valsalva device to aid them from the pressure build-up in their nasal passage and ears.
To perform the Valsalva maneuver while wearing a spacesuit, the astronaut must exhale against a closed glottis while keeping their mouth and nose closed.
This can be achieved by holding their breath and bearing down, as if they were trying to defecate or lift a heavy object.
The space itch is real!
(This thought was first published on Science Centre Singapore Blog)
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