Space fans love dressing up as astronauts in space festivals and media cons. Space-loving child’s dream of going to space one day, and while you cannot send them there now, you can let them pretend with an astronaut costume during Halloween and birthday parties.
Astronaut costumes are made for party use, and of course, they don’t have the same features as a real spacesuit. You can easily find the top selection of astronaut costumes in online stores, but beware of non-authentic costumes. Superfans will distinguish good and bad replica costumes based on their suit’s information. We have gathered some information about real astronaut’s suit to help you find yourself a good spacesuit replica.
What is a Space Suit?
American astronauts wear a space suit to protect their body from the extreme conditions in space: heat, cold, sunlight rays, and radiation. Spacesuits are very heavy, and they weigh approximately 280 pounds on the ground. Yet in space, in a microgravity environment, it weighs nothing. It takes an astronaut 45 minutes to put it on, and that shows how complicated and packed with equipment it is.
Sadly, if you are a space fan or parent of a space-lover child, then you would know by now that it is hard to buy an original spacesuit. Besides that it is super expensive, an astronaut’s suit is fitted to its wearer only. Rarely, some real ones pop up on auction websites, but it is out of reach for most people.
Across history, experts have invented a new suit for every new NASA program to help astronauts discover a new destination in space. They came up with those main categories:
1. ACES – Advanced Crew Escape suit
The real suit was designed first in 1994; it has a pressurized shell designed to help astronauts survive any accidents that will occur while taking off and landing on earth. These suits could only be worn inside the spacecraft.
NASA wasn’t trying to get into the fashion industry when they came up with the orange suits. Yet, NASA’s experts chose the color “Orange” for the safety of the space crew, as it is one of the most visible colors on land. The suit contains a supply of air, water, parachute, radio, medicine, and flares.
Notice that blue suits are not like orange NASA suits as astronauts wear, then when flying T-38 aircraft for training or when they are doing public appearances.
You can find those orange suits as costumes for kids and adults in online stores and shops. They are replicated as an orange jumpsuit with a lot of pockets and zippers, like an airfare jumpsuit.
2. IVA – Intra Vehicular Activity
They are considered as soft suits that are mainly made out of fabric. IVA suits are designed to be worn inside a pressurized aircraft; therefore, it is lighter and more comfortable.
3. EVA – Extravehicular Activity
EVA suits are designed for astronauts to wear outside the aircraft for planetary exploration or spacewalk. Thus, experts choose the color “white” to reflect the sun, heat, and stand out against the black expanse of space.
The most used suit is called EMU – Extravehicular Mobility Unit, a type of EVA suits, that is considered as a hybrid suit – which means they have a combination of both hard and soft shells-it has a hard upper torso made from fiberglass and have soft fabric limbs. Hard shells are made to prevent space junk from harming the astronaut. It is bulkier than ACES, although both have the same features, as air supply and drinkable water.
Components like, helmet, waist seal, and rear entry hatch are always made from the hard shells in most real space suits designs. Often, in costumes, only helmets are made from hard plastic.
4. IEVA – Intra/Extravehicular Activity
They are designed to be used inside and outside the spacecraft, like Gemini G4C suit. It is a hybrid of both IVA and EVA suits and developed to eliminate the need for two suits and reduce cargo weight.
History of Astronaut Costumes
Throughout the years, costumes have changed in their shapes and functions. The most known astronaut suit is the Apollo spacewalk suit; the white and super bulky suit that we always see in pictures. It was developed in-between 1967 to 1975 for the Apollo program to visit the moon.
By knowing all suit differences, you can easily spot the right costume for you and your child. Start training at NASA with your blue jumpsuit or blast off into space with the orange suit, or you can wear the Apollo costume and go to the moon.