NASA Plans to Make Space Suits Last 7 More Years

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by Montu, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Montu

    Montu [H]ard DCOTM x4

    Apr 25, 2001
    NASA has been using space suits on the ISS that were originally expected to only make it in service until 1993. However, with operations beginning to pick up on the ISS over the years NASA has had to refurbish these suits multiple times. The latest report to Congress sets the stage for another round of refurbishment and the remaining 11 space suits are expected to remain in service until at least 2024. Could you imagine wearing something so integral to your life that's been around for decades? Without a doubt our astronauts are definitely the right stuff.

    The space suits, or extra-vehicular activity suits (EVAs) worn by Nasa astronauts when they visit the ISS were first put together in 1978, designed to be used during short Space Shuttle missions before returning to Earth for maintenance. These were named the extravehicular mobility units, or EMU.
  2. leathco016

    leathco016 Limp Gawd

    Mar 2, 2017
    I'm torn in half on this one. On one hand, if it works, why change it? On the other hand, these brave people really deserve the safest tech that we have, which is unlikely be to two decades old.
  3. Dekar12

    Dekar12 Gawd

    Oct 2, 2003
    Prolly built better then anything that is made now.

    In 1978 they over built everything, not surprising that the base of these suits is still going strong.
  4. viper1152012

    viper1152012 Gawd

    Jun 20, 2012
    Just imagine that working suit is sitting in a museum while its successor suffocated an astronaut because an update cycles the nitrogen mix up, or the return home jets send them into deep space because Google got the coordinates wrong. Worse yet they source cheap cheap materials that break down and irradiate the explorers or just pop seals.....
    Just fix it and design and test new stuff first
  5. JSumrall

    JSumrall [H]Lite

    Jan 19, 2011
    Newer isn't always better.

    If they work fine refurbished, go for it.
  6. Mister E

    Mister E ?

    Sep 14, 2004
    Our space advancements are so slow it’s really depressing.
  7. mesyn191

    mesyn191 2[H]4U

    Jun 28, 2004
    The problem is the rubber seals, fiberglass epoxies, and plastics degrade over time even as spare parts in a temperature controlled storage area and these suits are in anything but conditions like that.

    Even when you overbuild something it'll still have a limited practical lifetime.

    Blame Congress. They keep screwing with NASA's funding in order to use it as a glorified jobs/pork barrel program. If they just let them do their jobs you'd be seeing a lot more stuff going on.
  8. kju1

    kju1 2[H]4U

    Mar 27, 2002
    Most days I fly aircraft older than my parents. A well maintained item will last for decades easily. Not everything is this trash that they make today.
  9. Drakeniir

    Drakeniir [H]Lite

    May 27, 2011
    every spacesuit is a museum. all those people, all that sweat. I think i'd be bagging mine up and letting it roast outside on a tether for a few hours before I put it on.
  10. katanaD

    katanaD [H]ard|Gawd

    Nov 15, 2016
    aye. and every new president shifts focus. Its hard to do a long term plan when your goal keeps changing every 4/8 years
    mesyn191 likes this.
  11. NASA has their wins and losses.

    The shuttle was horribly designed. As two of my aerospace teachers told me, "it was a mismash for poorly designed blueprints"

    However tech from the 60's and 70's can still be highly relevant today.

    It was just a few short years ago a Saturn v rocket motor was refired because the engineers weren't fully sure how it worked and they wanted to replicate that power for the SLS.

    Also the Soviets found a way to contain massive pressures in the reaction chamber without melting down. That tech was used in their own moon race. And the higher the pressure in the reaction chamber the more efficient the burn. So NASA is using Soviet technology from the 60's on their most modern rockets.

    That said when NASA redoes a suit, they REDO a suit. Usually designed to fit the astronaut. There's something like 7 layers of fabric and the remove each one and carefully inspect it. Most are replaced. It's only the physical hardware (valve connections and seals) that gets generally recycled. And that stuff is the kind of stuff used on subs for 40 years which is actually a harsher environment for metals.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2017
  12. Joust

    Joust [H]ard|Gawd

    Nov 30, 2017
    Most people, I think, were not really envisioning this process. I agree with you, it's a substantial process, I'm sure.