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Strange Space Suits from the 1930's

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posted on Sep, 6 2003 @ 09:49 AM
The american and british governments began work on space suit desighn back in the 1930's.

Here are a few of the more unusual ones.

B. F. Goodrich made a full pressure suit for pioneering aviator Wiley Post. It was of double ply rubberized parachute fabric, with pigskin gloves, rubber boots, and aluminium helmet, pressurized to 0.5 bar. The pressure suit used a liquid oxygen source and had arm and leg joints that permitted easy operation of the flight controls and also enabled walking to and from the aircraft. In his Lockheed Vega, the "Winnie May", Post set unofficial altitude records (as high as 15 km), discovering the jet stream in the process. In March 1935, Post flew from Burbank California to Cleveland Ohio in the stratosphere using the jet stream. At times, his ground speed exceeded 550 kph in a 290 kph aircraft. Post's pioneering accomplishments were the first major practical advance in pressurised flight. Ten flights were made in the suit before Post's death in 1935.

A favourite of Life magazine in the 1960's, this Grumman / Space General design for extended lunar surface operations allowed the astronaut to withdraw his arms from the flexible manipulators and work within the pressurised 'cabin' of the can enclosing his upper torso and head.

As England continued its work with derivatives of the Ridge-Haldane-Davis suit, in the United States the US Army finally recognized, albeit somewhat belatedly, the potential importance of a fully pressurized protective garment for military aviators and started a classified research program in 1939, designated Project MX-117. Soon several US companies had been drawn into pressure suit developmental investigations; these included the B.F.Goodrich Company (Russell Colley's engineering group), Bell Aircraft Company, the Goodyear Rubber Company, the US Rubber Company, and the National Carbon Company. From 1940 through 1943 a number of original designs were produced. Generally speaking, they uniformly featured transparent dome-like plastic helmets and airtight rubberized fabric garments which markedly restricted mobility and range of motion when fully pressurized. A major breakthrough came in the development of segmented, bellows-like joints at the knees, hips and elbows, which improved use of the limbs. This striking visual aspect of the early 40s suits resulted in their being termed "Tomato worm suits," after the distinctive convolutions of the Tomato Hornworm's body which had inspired the idea

[Edited on 6-9-2003 by quaneeri]

[Edited on 7-9-2003 by quaneeri]

posted on Sep, 6 2003 @ 01:05 PM
That fourth link had literually about 100 pop ups when I clicked it.

[Edited on 6-9-2003 by Volkswagen]

posted on Sep, 6 2003 @ 09:49 PM

Sorry about that.

I don't get any pop-ups i use a good firewall.

I will re-edit the link to the main page, hopefully that will stop them.

posted on Sep, 6 2003 @ 10:36 PM
Wiley Post was a total badass whose achievements have not received the applauds that they deserve.

posted on Sep, 7 2003 @ 12:53 AM

We will have to rectify that.

Here is wiley's story:

Wiley Post was one of the most celebrated pilots in aviation history. He set two trans-global speed records during the 1930s, one with a co-pilot, and one by himself. Post also developed the first practical pressure suit and helped pioneer high-altitude flight. Many Americans related to Post's ability to overcome his difficult circumstances, particularly during the Great Depression. His tragic and untimely death in 1935 stunned the nation and robbed aviation of a valuable innovator.

posted on Sep, 7 2003 @ 01:58 PM
That second one is a riot....

"Danger Will Robinson, Danger!"

posted on Sep, 7 2003 @ 02:06 PM

I like the third pic, the Tomatoe suit.

You half expect them to say.

Take me to your leader.

posted on Sep, 7 2003 @ 02:15 PM
Very good post, thanks!

That large tin can one, I'd like to see him get up if he fell over. *thinks* ah, but he'd be on the moon or in space, D'oh!

posted on Sep, 7 2003 @ 02:20 PM


I will try and find a few more suits to add to the collection.

posted on Sep, 7 2003 @ 02:35 PM
This was a Republic Aviation design for a hard space suit for extended operations on the lunar surface. It was very popular in Life magazine in the 1960's -- and coincidentally resembled a suit from a Republic Pictures serials of the 1940's. (Republic Moon Suit)

The USAF Mark I Extravehicular and Lunar Surface Suit, designed and built by Litton Industries, predated both the launch of Sputnik I by the Soviet Union and the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) by the United States. Based on a Litton "constant-volume" concept for a so-called "hard suit" in early 1955, the Mark I was tested during 1958-59 for more than 600 hours at simulated altitudes exceeding 100 miles. The unique construction of this suit permitted almost a full range of body motions by the person wearing it. The great success of the Mark I led to the subsequent development of a more refined and satisfactory RX-series "Moon Suits" for NASA. On June 9, 1958 Captain Iven C. Kincheloe Jr., USAF test pilot, tested the Mark I in a simulated flight to 100 miles and found it completely satisfactory.

Marquardt developed a sled design in the mid-1960s for maneuvering in the vicinity of a spacecraft. The space sled approach was dropped in preference to the shuttle manned maneuvering unit. (Space Sled)

For the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) space station, the U.S. Air Force recognized that existing launch/re-entry and Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) type suits had limited EVA ability. In 1967-68, the USAF competed an exclusively EVA suit-system development contract. Hamilton Standard won the competition. The Integrated Maneuvering Life Support System (IMLSS) design was the result. IMLSS could operate on an umbilical from MOL or disconnect and fly independently from the station. The MOL program was cancelled in 1969 before the prototype gained its thermal outer covers. IMLSS packaging and integration experience greatly influenced what is now Hamilton Sundstrand in the design of the Shuttle Extravehicular Mobility Unit that still serves NASA today.

More Suits Here:

[Edited on 7-9-2003 by quaneeri]

posted on Sep, 7 2003 @ 02:43 PM
I read details of a proposed suit for mars, many years ago. They wanted to vacumn form rubber to your body, then treat it to stay skin tight. This will apparently be enough to stop your innards spilling out into the martian atmosphere. I don't know if I'd trust a thin layer of rubber.

Great referrence material, I may have to save all these.

posted on Sep, 8 2003 @ 07:29 AM
If you go to the main site, there are about (20) space suits, that range from the 30's up to today.

The chinese are planning a space mission.

That is quite interesting, it's on the same page.

posted on Sep, 8 2003 @ 07:49 AM
HAHAHAHAHA! For the first 2 aliens would have zapped them for looking so stupid.

Nice one for that.

posted on Sep, 8 2003 @ 09:20 AM
John Nada.

Yeah i have to admit, if i were to confront those guys in a corn field on a dark night, i would be laughing so hard i couldn't shoot straight.

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