Neil Armstrong captivated the world in 1969 when he became the first person to walk on the Moon. We’re about to embark on a four-year project to conserve, digitize, and display his spacesuit in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. This is curator Cathleen Lewis and conservator Lisa Young of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. We are here to answer your questions about this project, the Museum’s spacesuit collection, the history of spacesuit development, and the conservation and preservation of spacesuits, from 1 – 3 pm EDT. More about what we will begin working on in the upcoming months and a little conservation 101: Support our mission to #RebootTheSuit:


Update - 3:37 pm EDT: Thank you everyone for your great questions! We're signing off and look forward to sharing more about this project over the coming years.

Comments: 651 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

nihongopower411 karma

I heard real space suits are basically impossible to put on by yourself and require assistance. I know you guys work at a museum, but in your opinion what needs to change in the future of spacesuits to make them still durable but able to be put on easily by one person? (And for that matter, is the technology to make such a suit near future or far future?) DOUBLE EDIT: OK, so I guess I shouldn't have worried, never mind about previous complaints

AirandSpaceExperts404 karma

Lewis: Spacesuits are notoriously difficult to put on. An astronaut wears an entire, close-fitting spacecraft when s/he is wearing a spacesuit. They are heavy and remain extremely bulky, even in the microgravity of space. But as much difficulty as the astronauts might have putting them on, they practice, practice and practice before flight. And although it takes several people to help them into a suit here on Earth, the astronauts are well-rehearsed enough that they can put on a spacesuit in a matter of minutes in case of an emergency. The current suits that astronauts use on the ISS are more complicated than the Apollo suits; they have far more components and part of the astronaut’s training is to learn to tailor each suit to individual needs. As space missions expand, the astronauts will have to play an increasingly larger role in the maintenance and sizing of spacesuits. I don’t see things getting easier, but much more difficult for them.

falconrider42296 karma

Are there any interesting features or facts about the suit we may not be aware of?

Also, how have the design and materials of spacesuits changed from the earliest suits to present day?


AirandSpaceExperts455 karma

Lewis: Probably the neatest features of the suits are hidden among its more than 20 layers. There are multiple layers of lightweight fabric that form the protection for the astronauts from solar radiation and fast traveling particles. Also inside the suit are corrugated pieces of rubber that allow the astronauts to bend their hips, arms and waist. These are ingenuous designs that localize air displacement at the joints. In addition, there are intricate systems that prevent the suit from ballooning up with it is inflated in the vacuum of space. Stay tuned, during the course of our work for the next three years, we will publish images from CT scans of the suit. And yes, spacesuit engineers have learned a lot from and since Apollo. Spacesuits no longer have sealing zippers. They are no longer custom made for each astronaut, but are now modular and can fit almost anyone. The materials have changed too. Although many of the construction principles are the same, the materials last longer and are lighter weight. There are many, many other changes. In the near future, the Museum will be able to compare in more detail the similarities and differences between Apollo and current suits.

r361k262 karma

What would happen if a spacesuit were to be punctured while in space?

AirandSpaceExperts680 karma

Lewis: First of all, there has never been a loss of an astronaut or cosmonaut due to a spacesuit failure. Second, please forget everything that you have seen in science fiction movies about spacesuit failures. They are usually overly dramatized and frequently wrong. There have been four documented cases of spacesuit failures in history. None resulted in deaths. Without a spacesuit and the oxygen necessary to breathe, an astronaut would immediately feel the nitrogen coming out of his fluids, almost like the tears and saliva were carbonated. After about 15 seconds, he would pass out and, without an emergency rescue, he would die within two minutes. The body would float in space and only very slowly lose body heat because there is no efficient way to radiate heat away from the body. In the case of a small puncture, usually the flesh would swell in the immediate area and stopper the hole. This can be extremely painful, but the victim would recover.

JimmyTorpedo185 karma

What are other countries space suits like compared to ours?

AirandSpaceExperts275 karma

Lewis: Remarkably, even though all spacesuits perform similar functions, they do not look alike. When the Soviet Union designed a suit to carry men to the Moon, they opted for a single piece suit that the cosmonaut would climb in through a hinged backpack. The Russians maintain a similar design in the EVA suits that cosmonauts wear when they do spacewalks from the Russian node of the International Space Station. These dissimilarities result from differences in available materials, different senses of aesthetics, and differing attitudes about innovation and refinement of design. The Russians remain very conservative and have retained many of the features that they designed for their first suits over 50 years ago. On the U.S. side, there is a greater effort at matching the spacesuit to the spacecraft and the mission. There is also the contracting and bidding issue that complicates the American side, but I won’t go into that here. You should also look at the Chinese spacesuits. They are remarkably similar to the Russian launch and entry suits. One assumes that they learned this design from the years that they worked with the Soviets and Russians in preparation for their own human spaceflight program.

talih0123 karma

How do you see space suits evolving over the next 10, 20, even 50 years from now?

Thanks for doing this AMA!

AirandSpaceExperts142 karma

Young: Spacesuit technology has come a long way and still has a way to go. Depending on future missions and where they take us, the suits will need to return to a suit similar to the lunar suit - where you can stand, walk and sit down. Spacesuit engineers and companies are working hard to anticipate the future needs of the spacesuit programs and have announced new designs. Check in with NASA and stay tuned!

whats_not_in_a_name102 karma

Sorry if this is a bit off-topic but i am curious. Regardless of accuracy, what is your favorite movie space suit?

AirandSpaceExperts260 karma

Lewis: It hasn’t opened yet, but I am anxiously awaiting Ridley Scott’s The Martian. I loved the book and from the promotions, he seems to have gotten the spacesuit right. Usually in movies the helmets are too big. I understand that this is for filming and showing the actors’s faces, but it is a distracting feature for a spacesuit curator.

coachkyle95 karma

I am very excited about this new future exhibit. I was just at the Air and Space Museum last July and was thrilled to see some space suits including Buzz Aldrin's and Alan Shephard's.

  1. What are some of the biggest issues in repairing the Neil Armstrong suit?

  2. What other amazing pieces can you tell us will be part of the exhibit when it is finished?

AirandSpaceExperts125 karma

Lewis: We will not be repairing the suit, but conserving it so that it will last for future generations. Part of what we will be do is documenting any deterioration that has happened over the last five decades so that we will know if anything new is occurring. We will also be finding a way to display the suit so that it will be preserved under the same conditions as it is in storage.

The new Destination Moon gallery will feature the Neil Armstrong suit, of course. And the Apollo 11 Command Module, an F-1 engine from the Saturn V launch vehicle that sent astronauts to the Moon, pieces of the Saturn V engine that actually launched Apollo 11 to the Moon, Alan Shepard’s spacesuit and and Freedom 7 capsule.

MaroonTrojan91 karma

But not Buzz Aldrin's suit, huh? Any particular reason? My guess is that he took it with him and still wears it on weekends.

AirandSpaceExperts74 karma

Lewis: Buzz Aldrin’s spacesuit is currently on display in our Apollo to the Moon gallery. When we prepare for our Destination Moon gallery, which is anticipated to open in 2020, we will remove Buzz's suit from display and give it a rest for a while in our spacesuit storage. We hope that what we learn from the Neil Armstrong suit can be applied to our other suits so that more of our spacesuit collection can go on display both here at our museum and at museums throughout the world.

andnowforme071 karma

Just how durable/fragile is a spacesuit? They're designed to stop particles moving really fast in space, but I've also heard about astronauts being unable to fart lest it degrade the material. Could a suit stop a bullet? Cushion a fall? What are its structural strengths and weaknesses?

AirandSpaceExperts109 karma

Young: The suit is very fragile in the sense that the materials are very complicated. The fabric chosen for the exterior is very durable and strong, and would be able to stop a meteoroid traveling at high speed. The fabric is a woven glass fiber made by Dow Corning. The suit materials have remained pretty much the same over time, despite newer fabrics developed for other uses. One that we are often asked about is Kevlar, which is a familiar fabric used to stop a speeding bullet. While tested over and over for spacesuit use, it did not hold up due to all the flexing and bending performed during use.

esd0700460 karma

I spent a couple of decades with the company that is/was the prime contractor/designer/manufacturer of space suits then and now. Anything I can do to help the cause? -My Dad

AirandSpaceExperts72 karma

Lewis: Thank you! We have a very close relationship with ILC Dover, the company that made the Apollo spacesuits and continues to make suits that astronauts use today to perform spacewalks from the International Space Station. We have relied on ILC and other NASA contractors for valuable information on how the suits were made, tested and treated during and after their missions. Your continued interest and information would be greatly appreciated.

Chansen9657 karma

Have you ever dealt with people who don't believe we landed on the moon? If so, how did you, or would you, try to convince them otherwise?

AirandSpaceExperts143 karma

Lewis: Yes, we have an Associate Director, Roger Launius, who writes about the culture of Moon deniers. If you don’t believe him, then we will hand you over to Buzz Aldrin.

Sukrim56 karma

Would you be willing to let /u/mistersavage (Adam Savage from Mythbusters) visit (potentially with a small video crew) and geek out over your suits?

Since the first one is just yes/no, here's a more elaborate one:
Will you release plans to build/sew/re-model your own Apollo style space suit as part of your digitization? Something like sewing patterns for example. It won't have to be fully functional of course, but it would be an interesting project to build a reasonably good replica.

AirandSpaceExperts66 karma

Lewis and Young: Maybe, if he asked! We'll be 3D scanning the entire suit and putting a model on, which you can tour and explore.

SPWatwin54 karma

Could suit like the one Felix Baumgartner ever be used to by astronaut falling from orbit? Could a suit every been designed to survive re-entry and then parachute?

AirandSpaceExperts103 karma

Lewis: Great question! There have been two record-breaking parachute dives within a year: the Red Bull sponsored Baumgartner parachute dive and Alan Eustace’s Paragon dive last year. They each used different suits and different techniques for their dives. Baumgartner used a suit made by the David Clark Company that was based on the high-altitude pilots. The suit had extra protection because Baumgartner was exiting his gondola before taking his dive. On the other hand, Eustace decided to forgo a gondola in order to achieve a higher altitude. His suit was built by ILC Dover, the same company that built the Apollo suits and builds the current EVA suits. ILC used technologies for Eustace’s suit that they had developed for advanced NASA suits and the current EVA suit. Because his suit was designed to substitute for a gondola, his suit was much better suited (pardon the pun) for space use.

JeffRyan142 karma

I recently read Andy Weir's The Martian, and there's a whole lot of spacesuit fu in that. Without using a spoiler tag, would the main character's "Iron Man" jokey idea -- using a pinprick hole in your suit to create thrust -- have actually worked?

AirandSpaceExperts69 karma

Lewis: The idea of using a jet pack has been around for a while. It operates on a basic principle of physics. The problem is in the details. It is really hard to direct the flow to aim the propulsion accurately. So yes, it could work, but life in the movies is frequently much simpler than it is in real life. By the way, I loved the book and am looking forward to the movie.

APence32 karma

What would you say is the biggest inaccuracy in how movies and TV portray the suits? Also what is the thing you are most excited about in the near future of spacesuits?

AirandSpaceExperts62 karma

Lewis: I find the biggest inaccuracy to be the size of the helmets. In order to get a clear shot of actors’ faces, designers tend to exaggerate the size of the helmets. If you look at actual Apollo bubble helmets and photographs of astronauts wearing them, you will see that they are actually tightly fitting. The diameter of the helmets is about 12 inches. No one with claustrophobia would be able to get beyond the initial helmet fit.

Intercamino29 karma

Thanks so much for doing this AMA! This is a really cool project that is preserving an important piece of our history!

My question is what makes it so difficult to preserve a space suit long term? Also, would it in theory be easier to preserve a modern space suit from the past few years, or have things not changed much in terms of spacesuit design over time?


AirandSpaceExperts38 karma

Young: Conserving over 24 materials in a complex object like a spacesuit is one of the most challenging factors when preserving the suit long term. All of the materials react differently and are decaying at different rates. Most of the materials are reaching their half lives and suit designers used what was available at the time. Modern spacesuits will be just as hard to preserve, and have had a much longer life in use, so the materials may need special care when they are received at the Museum. But we have learned so much in the past two decades about these materials and are better prepared to take on new challenges when they arrive.


What do you think the next big leap for spacesuits will be? I heard that MIT was working on some sort of new less bulky design. SpaceX is also working on spacesuits.

When we finally do get to Mars, what sort of design challenges do we have to solve in order to make exploration of the red planet possible? Decontamination seems like a big one. As I understand it Mars has toxic peroxides in the soil which apparently mess with the human body.

Thanks for your time.

AirandSpaceExperts33 karma

Lewis: For any long-term mission, there are two major issues that have to be addressed with spacesuits. First, the suits must be reusable, repairable and maintainable. In order to do this, the astronauts will have to be well-trained on the suit components. There are ideas about mounting spacesuits to the exterior of roving vehicles so that astronauts will not have to bring lunar or Martian dust into the spacecraft. You can see examples of this in the NASA Desert Rats missions. The second issue will be preventing injuries to astronauts. Currently, there is a very high injury rate among astronauts in training—mostly in shoulders and joints. We have to remember that astronauts are usually middle-aged and athletic adults, and therefore, they are prone to overuse injuries. NASA’s current Deputy Administrator Dr. Newman has worked on these injury issues. It will be interesting to see how they work out the compromise between durability and human factors. The most durable and repairable suits tend to be made of hard materials. Softer materials tend to be easier on human joints.

candy82421 karma

I heard that they made the penis sleeves/jackets in sizes SM MED and LG and everyone kept choosing the LG and most of them kept falling off, so they had to make it LG XLG and XXLG. So guys with SM would pick the LG and it would fit. Is that true?

AirandSpaceExperts26 karma

Young: I cannot tell you for sure, but i have heard that same story before. The "roll on cuff" was attached to a urine collection device which enabled the astronaut to use the bathroom in his suit. I am not sure how productive it would have been if the cuff were the wrong size.

MutthaFuzza21 karma

Is it true that the space suits that went to the moon are falling apart?

AirandSpaceExperts41 karma

Young: The spacesuits in our collection are showing signs of decay and degradation but are not "falling apart." The materials are very complex and cannot be separated for preservation purposes, so from a conservation perspective, it is challenging to decide on a treatment that will halt degradation of the materials. For many years, minimal work was completed toward this effort. The best assurance of keeping the suits preserved for as long as possible is to make sure they are in a stable environment and that the materials are supported physically and any chemical processes are slowed down.

DapperDodger21 karma

Thanks for doing this! I have a question about the suit restore, You said there was some staining on one of the pockets of the spacesuit, and you were unsure of how it had happened, and would remove it if it was not related to use of the suit. At what point was the suit in a state (where was it, who had possession) where it could have received a stain and no one would have noticed or recorded it? And why remove the stain? Even if it it was not the result of use in space, its still part of the history of the suit, right?

AirandSpaceExperts32 karma

Lewis: Some of the stains are historical. For example, Moon dust is definitely historical. On the other hand, we would like to remove stains that resulted from deterioration of materials within the suit. We have learned a great deal over the decades on how to prevent this deterioration. If we can preserve the suit and remove any of these stains without causing any harm, we will do so.

uberlad18 karma

Hey there! You guys are working at one of the best museums in the world, and as such have probably seen some pretty incredible things. I have 2 questions:

  • What are your thoughts about the "next generation" of space suits that are coming?
  • What's your very best life advice?

AirandSpaceExperts23 karma

Young: It is hard to tell when the next generation of suits will be out. The astronauts are still using the ISS suit to perform tasks on the space station. The next generation will need to be able to function more like the lunar suit and should enable the astronaut to sit, walk, and stand in the suit, whereas on the ISS they float.

My best life advice is to work and play hard - and have fun!

wsaaasnmj17 karma

When will Neil's suit be put on display in the National Air and Space Museum?

AirandSpaceExperts30 karma

Lewis: Neil's suit will go on display in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission in July 2019.

Arthur_Boo_Radley12 karma

Hi, and first of all thank you for doing this AMA.

Some time ago I linked to this video (0m56s) with a question if there was any real danger of astronauts accidentaly ripping their spacesuits while on the moon whether swiping against some rock or simply falling down.

I guess my question to you is about the same. I know there are multiple layers in a spacesuit and my guess is that more of them are airtight, but is there any way of explaining (maybe by comparing to something) how strong is the fabric from which the suits are made of today? And is there any real danger of ripping a suit if an astronaut today swiped against some sharp edge on the spacecraft while on a EVA? Is there any more solid layer in a spacesuit that would prevent possible ripping of fabric layers?

AirandSpaceExperts25 karma

Lewis: The Apollo spacesuits were specifically designed to resist tears and punctures. The outer layer of the suit is a white fiberglass fabric that has threads dipped in teflon, called Beta cloth. This is a very durable and tear resistant fabric, and a similar textile is used on current spacewalking spacesuits. It is called Ortho fabric. In addition to Beta cloth, the Apollo spacesuits have patches of a stainless steel fabric called Chromel-R. This fabric was designed by the U.S. Navy during World War II and was used until alternative synthetic materials came on the market in the late 1970s.

ken2723812 karma

I read comments on articles basically saying "why do they need a kickstarter?"

Why did you use this method? To get the public excited and involved?

(personally I think a kickstarter was a fantastic idea.)

AirandSpaceExperts13 karma

Young: We decided to use Kickstarter to invite the public to be involved in our effort to conserve, digitize and display Neil Armstrong's suit. This gives people all over the world a chance to be a part of this exciting museum project and allows us to share what goes into conserving objects.

newhere_11 karma

What's with the Russian suit in the museum with the sparkles on the boots?

AirandSpaceExperts21 karma

Lewis: Oh, you must mean the Soviet prototype Lunar suit, the Krechet. The boots are not intentionally sparkly, but that is probably part of the material in the boot that is a synthetic leather.

MyMomSaysIAmCool10 karma

How does an airtight zipper work?

AirandSpaceExperts15 karma

Lewis: The zipper is a really neat concept. It was patented by B. F. Goodrich. It relies on two brass zippers that have a rubber gasket in between. When the zippers are closed and the suit is pressurized they press together and the rubber gasket formed an airtight seal. One of the really neat things was the special closure that would fold over and complete the seal at the top.

touchoff9 karma

Thank you for doing this!

Would it be possible to analyze the kind wear, debris, residue, etc. to prove that the space suit was actually worn on the surface of the moon?

Just another way to quiet the moon landing conspiracy folks?

AirandSpaceExperts13 karma

Young: Yes it will be possible to determine what type of wear is normal wear to the suit materials compared to what could possibly be a result of use on the Moon. We will be using new advanced imagery to map the repairs, thread counts, fiber damage, etc. across the surfaces of the suit. All of our testing methods will be non-destructive and will provide analytical data that we can archive.

risinglikeolympus8 karma

How do you store spacesuits to prevent deterioration?

AirandSpaceExperts14 karma

Lewis: We currently store our spacesuits and other rubber materials in a unit that keeps them at 60 degrees Fahrenheit and at a relative humidity of 30%.

jimmypeacepipe8 karma

How did you two get such awesome jobs?

AirandSpaceExperts19 karma

Young: We do have amazing jobs, don't we? It is hard to believe that it was partially luck and experience that has landed me in this position. I actually began my career as an archaeological conservator and worked on archaeological sites in Virginia and Maryland. I became interested in early rubber artifacts being excavated and studied how they degrade and survive in the ground. As I began researching this, someone at the Museum reached out to me to discuss what to do about the spacesuit rubber, and from there as they say "everything else is just history." I have been working on the suit collection since 1999 and continue to be fascinated and challenged conserving these complex, one-of-a-kind objects which represent such important aspects of our history.

kwko7 karma

Hi there, thanks for doing this.
I have two questions, firstly what material development has had the biggest impact on spacesuits since the 1969 Moon Landing?
Secondly what material development do you think will have the biggest impact on future spacesuit development.

AirandSpaceExperts18 karma

Young: The single most important material, and the one that assured the astronaut survived, would have to be the rubber bladder. The rubber used in the earlier suits is a blend of natural and synthetic rubber- only really made to last 6 months from the time of manufacture through its use. The rubber technology was in its infancy then, and during Apollo 14, the engineers developed an anti-oxidant to add to the rubber blend to enable it to be used longer and allowed the astronauts to spend almost 120 hours working on the Moon. Current suits no longer use natural rubber in the blend - it is made of more modern urethanes. This has added longevity to the suit use, enabled astronauts to work in their suits for longer periods of time, and has allowed today's suits to be reused for multiple missions.

NorbitGorbit6 karma

have you salvaged instructions to reproduce/reconstruct the suit in case of emergency?

AirandSpaceExperts6 karma

Young: We are getting ready to dig into the archives again to determine if historical documentation exists on the suit, how they were made, and record any information pertaining to making the suits. We have worked with historians in the past who indicated that some of these important records may be missing. However, that is why it is so important for us to record and examine our collections so closely so we can help to recreate that record and make sure it is also preserved for future generations.

davidyak6 karma

I was wondering if the wristwatch that Mr. Armstrong wore on the moon is part of the suit, separately archived, or "missing"?

AirandSpaceExperts19 karma

Young: The chronograph that Neil Armstrong had during the Apollo 11 mission is in the collection. It is currently in storage, as many of the chronographs are. We have recently been working with NASA and the Omega Museum to document and record our chronograph collection and to make sure they are preserved. The chronograph was not worn on the Moon because Neil left it in the Lunar Module when the clock in there stopped working. We plan to display it in our new gallery "Destination Moon" - due to open in 2020 - but it will not be displayed with the suit.

prince-aligator6 karma

How many versions of the suit has there been?

AirandSpaceExperts12 karma

Lewis: I assume this question is about the Apollo suit. The suit that Neil Armstrong wore on the surface of the Moon was an A7-L. This was the seventh iteration of the spacesuit that ILC Industries (ILC Dover today) designed for the Apollo Program. The early Apollo missions were considered engineering missions, so there were rapid minor changes to the suits from mission to mission. The only major redesign of the suit was for the last three Apollo missions - 15, 16, and 17. The suit had to be redesigned and the zipper rerouted in order for the astronauts to sit down on the Lunar Rover Vehicle. This suit was named the A7-LB (version B). In addition to the the improvement of the suits, there are also IV and EV models. The IV models were made for the command module pilots who did not walk on the Moon and the EV versions were for moon walkers. There were also further refinements to the A7-L suits for the Skylab missions that used Apollo hardware for the U.S.’s first space station missions.

TheG-What6 karma

Why does it cost so much to restore? What is the process that must be done?

AirandSpaceExperts19 karma

Young: The primary cost of conserving the suit goes into the design, prototype, testing and creation of the display so that the suit will be displayed on a supportive mannequin and in a case that allows us to repeat the storage environment we have the suit in now. Of course, some of the funding will go toward the 3D digitization of the suit and creating an online interactive so people around the world can view the suit. I explained the process of conserving the suit in a recent blog post:

esd070046 karma

Are you also working on the life support system the astronauts used to survive? We sometimes use the term space suit to mean not only the soft parts but the essential elements that kept the astronauts alive. Or are you only restoring the soft goods?

AirandSpaceExperts13 karma

Young: The life support systems were too heavy to return to Earth so they were left on the Moon. Most of what we have in the collection for that reason are the soft goods of the suits. However, we do have many of the helmets, gloves, and misc hardware that were associated with the suits and capsules. We have training and back up hardware items in the collection that we will also be conserving for the new display.

ReasonablyConfused5 karma

How much of the suits design is for maintaining pressure vs. how much is based on temperature protection? Are U2 pilot suits distinctly different for example?

AirandSpaceExperts15 karma

Lewis: Apollo spacesuits protect the astronauts against the vacuum of space, solar radiation and heat, fast moving particles and sharp objects and help them remove body heat. In the case of light suits, pilots still had to contend with maintaining a breathing atmosphere at high altitudes and very high solar radiation at those altitudes. As a result, spacesuit engineers learned a lot about spacesuit design from high altitude suits such as the U-2 suit. In addition, they had to accommodate an astronaut moving around and walking on the surface of another world. One interesting similar feature between the two is the presence of gauntlets on the gloves. High-altitude pilots had complained that the metal wrist connects would warm uncomfortably in the unfiltered sunlight. You can see this same gauntlet in Armstrong’s Apollo EV gloves.

cdalef20005 karma

What layer(s) in the Apollo 11 suit make it air-tight? Has this changed in modern suits?

AirandSpaceExperts9 karma

Lewis: The pressure garment assembly has a fabric dipped in latex. This forms the impenetrable layer that keeps the atmosphere inside the suit. Today, they use a urethane polymer for the same purpose. Urethane is as easily moldable and rubber and lasts much longer for reuse.

Serialtoon5 karma

Are there space suits made for the larger humans? in other words..big and tall?

Thank you

AirandSpaceExperts11 karma

Lewis: The current suit that astronauts wear to do spacewalks from the ISS is sized so it can be adjusted to fit anyone from the 5th percentile of women to the 95th percentile of men.

SteamRider22 karma

Thanks for doing this! Will the mannequin you make look like Armstrong? What materials will you use to support the suit inside?

AirandSpaceExperts12 karma

Young: The mannequin we will construct will not be a lifelike figure. It will consist of an articulated support frame covered in archival materials so it does not cause any harm to the suit or materials it is composed of. We will be working with an exhibit mount designer to make sure the suit is physically supported and fulfills all of our specifications to preserve the suit on display. New technology using our CT scans will enable us to provide a more accurate sized mannequin and will enable us to see where the suit needs more and less support. It is going to be very exciting and for the first time in years we are anticipating being able to support the gloves and helmet on display as well. The research we complete during the next few years will be used to create a new mannequin system for the Armstrong suit, the Shepard suit, and all the other suits we plan on exhibiting.

McTrollski-4 karma

My daughter attends Pinkerton Academy in NH. The sports teams are named the Astros to honor Alan B Shepherd who graduated from here. This is their mascot suit. Is there any way you could possibly donate an old suit and helmet to end this embarrassment?

AirandSpaceExperts4 karma

Young: What a great mascot! We are doing lots of research to determine the proper environment to conserve and display spacesuits, and it's very difficult for us to loan out objects in our collection. We can advise you on how to preserve your piece of history and make sure it is available for generations to come.