Dear Visitor,

Our system has found that you are using an ad-blocking browser add-on.

We just wanted to let you know that our site content is, of course, available to you absolutely free of charge.

Our ads are the only way we have to be able to bring you the latest high-quality content, which is written by professional journalists, with the help of editors, graphic designers, and our site production and I.T. staff, as well as many other talented people who work around the clock for this site.

So, we ask you to add this site to your Ad Blocker’s "white list" or to simply disable your Ad Blocker while visiting this site.

Continue on this site freely
You are here: Home / Space / Spacewalking Suits in Short Supply
NASA Spacewalking Suits in Short Supply, Report Finds
NASA Spacewalking Suits in Short Supply, Report Finds
By Marcia Dunn Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
NASA's spacewalking suits are in short supply, and a replacement is still years away despite the nearly $200 million spent on new technology, the space agency's inspector general reported Wednesday.

A next-generation suit for spacewalking astronauts is needed for future space travel, including trips to Mars. But a lack of a formal plan and destinations has complicated suit development, according to the report . At the same time, NASA has reduced funding for suit development, putting more priority instead on space habitats.

According to the report, NASA is dealing with a variety of design and health risks associated with the spacewalking suits used by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The suits were developed more than 40 years ago and intended for 15 years.

Of the original backpacks containing life-support equipment, only 11 of the 18 are still in use. That might not be enough to last until the station's retirement in 2024, let alone a possible extension until 2028, the report stated.

There have been 3,400 mostly minor problems with spacewalking suits, in ground testing and in orbit, since their development in the 1970s, the report noted. In more than 200 spacewalks, astronauts have encountered 27 "significant incidents" with the suits. The most serious was the near drowning of an Italian astronaut in 2013 when water from his cooling system flooded his helmet. Other problems over the years have included glove damage and burning or stinging eyes.

As the spacewalking suits age, "NASA must deal with a dwindling number of flight-ready spacesuits and with mitigating risks related to their design and maintenance," the report said.

NASA needs a formal plan, especially if it hopes to test a new suit before the space station ends operation in 2024, the report concluded. It also needs to compare the cost of maintaining the current crop of suits with developing new ones.

NASA's next spacewalk is set for May 12. Veteran spacewalker, Peggy Whitson, will venture outside with newcomer Jack Fischer.

© 2017 Associated Press under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media. All rights reserved.

Image credit: NASA.

Tell Us What You Think


Bob Butler:
Posted: 2017-05-02 @ 4:21am PT
NASA has the recurring problem of "Better is the enemy of good enough." - Admiral Sergey Georgiyevich Gorshkov. Build a suit for ISS, you'll need it anyway. Make it modular if you can. Anyway just accept you'll need new suits for Mars, the Moon and for Asteroids. That won't be as expensive as continually redesigning the same suit and putting off building it. You'll get better suits too.

Like Us on FacebookFollow Us on Twitter
© Copyright 2017 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.