Advanced Crew Escape Suit and Red Bull Stratos Suit
Advanced Crew Escape Suit (ACES)
This suit (orange) is safety equipment for an astronaut during liftoff and landing, the most dangerous parts of a space flight. It can protect an astronaut 19 miles above the Earth. In an emergency, the first thing that this suit does is keep pressurized air around the astronaut. This makes sure that they can still breathe, even if air is leaking out of the space shuttle. If the space shuttle loses all its air, the suit has enough for the astronaut to breathe for ten minutes. The astronaut wears a parachute, so that they can bail out of the space shuttle during those ten minutes. Once they land, the orange fabric makes it easy for rescuers to see. Other safety features include a life raft, in case they land in the ocean, a supply of drinking water, and medicine. This suit was made in Worcester by the David Clark Company. They have been making aerospace equipment here since 1941.
Red Bull Stratos Pressure Suit and Helmet
This suit (white) was built to protect a skydiver who jumped out of a balloon 24 miles above the Earth. This is a world record for the highest free-fall jump. The Stratos suit is based on the Advanced Crew Escape Suit. Like the ACES, this suit keeps pressurized air around the wearer. However, this suit is more flexible, allowing the diver to change position in midair. It doesn’t have as much emergency equipment, because the jump was planned. Instead, it has a lot of sensors, and a video camera to record what the jump was like. The David Clark Company learned a lot from that jump. When they build new space suits to replace the ACES, they are going to use what they learned. The next generation of astronauts will have space suits that are easier to use and even safer than before.
Exhibit is included with admission.
On loan from the David Clark Company