DIY Podcast: Spacesuits Audio Clips Transcript
International Space Station Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur discusses spacesuits equipment and techniques. You can mix these audio clips with your own narration. Listen to the audio and download the clips you want to use in your podcast or other audio production.
Bill McArthur: 1-a. 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.
2-a. 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.
3-a. 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.
4-a. 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.
5-a. 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.
6-a. 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.
7-a. We have special undergarments that we wear. 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.
8-a. 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.
9-a. 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.
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