The Space Suit


Both for assembly and operation of the space station (moving between individual entities and to and from the space ships, performing varying tasks, etc.) it is necessary to be able to remain outside of the enclosed rooms in open space. Since this is only possible using the previously mentioned space suits, we have to address these suits in more detail.

As previously explained, they are similar to the modern diving and/or gas protective suits. But in contrast to these two suits, the space suit garment must not only be airtight, resistant to external influences and built in such a manner that it allows movement to be as unrestricted as possible; additionally, it must have a large tensile strength because a gas pressure (overpressure of the air in relation to empty space) of one full atmosphere exists within the garment. And moreover, it should be insensitive to the extremely low temperatures that will prevail in empty space due to heat loss by thermal emission. The garment must neither become brittle nor otherwise lose strength. Without a doubt, very significant requirements will be imposed on the material of such a space suit.

In any case, the most difficult problem is the protection against cold; or, more correctly stated, the task of keeping the loss of heat through radiation within acceptable limits. One must attempt to restrict the capability of the garment to radiate to a minimum. The best way of attaining this goal would be to give the suit in its entirety a high polish on the outside. It would then have to be made either completely of metal or at least be coated with a metal. However, an appropriately prepared flexible material insensitive to very low temperatures would perhaps suffice as a garment, if it is colored bright white on the outside and is as smooth as possible.

Nevertheless, the advantage of a material of this nature may not be all that great as far as the freedom of movement is concerned, because even when the garment used is flexible, it would be stiff since the suit is inflated (taut) as a result of the internal overpressure such that special precautions would have to be taken to allow sufficient movement, just as if the garment were made of a solid material, such as metal. The all metal construction would appear to be the most favorable because much experience from the modern armor diving suits is available regarding the method of designing such stiff suits; furthermore a structure similar to flexible metal tubes could possibly also be considered for space use.

We will, therefore, assume that the space suits are designed in this manner. As a result of a highly polished external surface, their cooling due to thermal emission is prevented as much as possible. Additionally, a special lining of the entire suit provides for extensive thermal insulation. In case cooling is felt during a long stay on the outside, it is counteracted through in-radiation from mirrors on the shadow side of the space suit. Supplying air follows procedures used for modern deep sea divers. The necessary oxygen bottles and air purification cartridges are carried in a metal backpack.

Since voice communication through airless space is possible only via telephones and since a connection by wires would be impractical for this purpose, the space suits are equipped with radio communication gear: a small device functioning as sender and receiver and powered by storage batteries is also carried in the backpack for this purpose. The microphone and the head phone are mounted firmly in the helmet. A suitably installed wire or the metal of the suit serves as an antenna. Since each individual unit of the space station is equipped for local radio communication, spacefarers outside the station can, therefore, speak with each other as well as with the interior of any of the space station units, just like in the airfilled space however, not by means of air waves, but through ether waves.

For special safety against the previously described danger of "floating away into outer space" threatened during a stay in the open, the local radio stations are also equipped with very sensitive alarm devices that respond, even at great distances, to a possible call for help from inside a space suit.

In order to prevent mutual interference, various wavelengths are allocated to the individual types of local radio communications; these wavelengths can be tuned in easily by the radio devices in the space suits. Small handheld thrusters make possible random movements. Their propellant tanks are also located in the backpack along with the previously described devices.


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