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DIY Podcast: Spacesuits Audio/Video Clips

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Spacesuits: Audio/Video Clips

Bill McArthur, commander of Expedition 12 on the International Space Station, and flight engineer Valery Tokarev discuss and demonstrate spacesuits from the space station. Take the NASA video, audio clips and images, then add your own narration, original video, special effects and transitions. Preview the video and download the clips you want to use in your creative masterpiece.

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Meet Bill McArthur and Valery Tokarev
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(McArthur) Hi. I'm Bill McArthur, commander of Expedition 12 on board the International Space Station, along with my crewmate Valery Tokarev. We'd like to talk to you today about some of our favorite equipment on board the International Space Station: our spacesuits.
The Russian Orlan Suit
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(Tokarev) This is a Russian spacesuit. It's called Orlan. (McArthur) Valery, "Orlan" -- that's a Russian word. What does it mean? (Tokarev) It means a big bird. Eagle. (McArthur) I kind of like that. An eagle. That gives you a lot of confidence in that suit.
A Spacesuit Has to ...
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(McArthur) It has to provide a breathable atmosphere for us. It has to provide oxygen at a high-enough pressure for us to live. And it also has to protect us from the extremes of the environment, the extreme temperatures. It can become very, very hot in space. It can also become very, very cold.
Keeping the Spacesuit in Shape
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(McArthur) Kind of imagine, if you will, those long balloons that you've seen clowns at the circus tie up into animals. Well, our suits would like to do that. Because they have pressure in them that's higher than the surrounding pressure, they want to inflate like a balloon. And so we really don't want them getting longer because then your fingers couldn't reach the tip of your gloves. And so the restraint system inside keeps the suit at the same size that it was adjusted to when we tried it on.
EMU Bladder
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(McArthur) And then the last layer underneath is a bladder. It's a rubberized material. In the case of the EMU (extravehicular mobility unit), it is a nylon that's been coated so that it will hold pressure. It will hold air. And there's also a rubber bladder inside the Orlan. And so that's what maintains the pressure.
PLSS
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(McArthur) It's called a primary life support subsystem on the EMU, and in both of them it contains oxygen. It contains water for cooling. It contains the battery, the radio and all the equipment we need to operate the suit.
Dressing for Space
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(McArthur) As you can see, I've removed the pants, or the lower torso assembly. And so, to put this suit on, (cosmonaut) Valery (Tokarev) and I would get dressed. Then we would put on just the pant part. And then we would have to climb up into the hard upper torso, or the fiberglass shell that's in the upper part of the suit.
Donning the Orlan
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(McArthur) The Orlan, now, is different because the entire back opens up and it's like a little spaceship with its own hatch. And so that's how we would ingress into the Orlan. We open up our little door on the back and then we climb in. And getting out or doffing the Orlan is done the same way.
Heat Buildup in the Spacesuit
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(McArthur) Inside the suits the biggest problem we have is all the heat our bodies generate inside is kept inside the suit, and it cannot be radiated out. So we have to have a system for cooling our bodies.
Spacesuit Underwear
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(McArthur) And so we have special undergarments that we wear. The one I'm holding, the white one, is called an LCVG, or a liquid cooling and ventilation garment. The Russian suit, or the KVO, is built very much the same way. It's just a different color. They both are lined with many, many small tubes through which cold water that is provided by the spacesuit is circulated. And that's how we reject heat from our bodies.
Spacesuit Sublimator
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(McArthur) In the backpack on each spacesuit, we have something called a sublimator. And you may recall from science, sublimation is a process by which ice will just evaporate directly into water vapor without melting. And so what we do in space is we allow ice to build up in the sublimator, which is exposed to vacuum, and then the particles of ice evaporate directly into space because of the zero pressure that the ice is exposed to. And that's how we reject heat from the spacesuit.
Spacewalk, Extravehicular Activity or EVA
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(McArthur) One of the most exciting, probably the most fun task that Valery and I have in space is when we get to put on a spacesuit and go outside on a spacewalk or EVA -- extravehicular activity. It's just thrilling to be outside and be able to see space, see the Earth gliding by. Or actually see the outside of our home in space, the International Space Station. And thanks to these great spacesuits -- the Orlan and the EMU -- we get to do the thing that so many astronauts and cosmonauts love to do: go for a walk.
Removing the Spacesuit Helmet
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Spacesuit Torso and Legs
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Ron Garan Spacewalks
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Ron Garan Works Outside the Space Station
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Mike Fossum Spacewalks
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Spacewalking Pair
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Tool Stowing Spacewalk
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Page Last Updated: September 22nd, 2014
Page Editor: Sandra May