The thought of being an astronaut made most of us happy during our days as teenagers. But have you bothered to ask, “How much does an astronaut suit cost?” Even if we do not have any intention of travelling to space, knowing the cost isn’t a bad idea.
So, how much does the astronaut suit cost?
An astronaut suit does cost a fortune. It’s approximately 12 million US dollars. However, you can say that it’s expensive, but really, the suit is worth every penny. It weighs 21 kilograms and comes built with several costly materials and diverse layers. It also takes years to make a single suit.
You have seen the answer, but I wrote other information about the spacesuit that will find helpful. So keep on reading!
What Is In The Astronaut Space Suit?
Knowing that the astronaut suit weighs 12 kilograms will make you question the materials used in building it. But keep in mind that this technology is one of the most complicated in the world. Each spacesuit comes built with different materials rolled into 14 different layers.
However, these layers are not there to increase the price of the suit. They are there to ensure the safety of the astronaut. As you already know, surviving in outer space is difficult. So, an astronaut needs the spacesuit more than anything.
Alright, here are the details of the 14 different layers in the spacesuit and their benefits.
1. liquid cooling and ventilation garment
In this liquid cooling garment, you will find three different layers. Another unique thing about this garment is the material each layer is made of. They come designed with a tiny spandex layer built to fit snugly to one’s body.
Now, what is the benefit of this garment? Well, the main reason is to ensure an astronaut stays cool when he or she is in space. It also does this by holding cubes of approximately 300 feet. It serves to hold cool water over the spandex’s surface. That is how the liquid keeps the astronaut’s body calm and cool.
Where does the water come from? I know a lot of people will be asking this question. Well, it can either be from the backpack the astronaut is carrying. It can also be from a special umbilical cord directly from the spacecraft. The astronaut’s sweet recycled and water vapor coming from the CO2 (Carbon dioxide), which the astronaut exhales, can also be a part of this.
2. Bladder layer
The bladder layer is another essential layer for the astronaut. In short, it is vital to the survival of the astronaut. It helps to ensure the maintenance of adequate pressure dynamic for the protection of whoever is wearing the suit.
How does the bladder layer help? It holds the oxygen the astronaut would be breathing in its confined space.
Another layer that serves a crucial purpose is one directly above this bladder layer. It helps ensure the bladder layer does the job of keeping the astronaut alive.
It makes sure that the bladder layer can retain the right form the astronaut needs. So it is equally relevant.
3. Ripstop layer
It is dangerous to live in space. You have to be prepared to overcome several obstacles. So the spacesuit is built with these challenges in mind. But the primary objective is to keep the astronaut safe and sound.
So the next layer after the bladder layer is the Ripstop. This layer comes designed to help prevent the suit from tearing. So you can see that it is also a critical layer. No matter the danger an astronaut faces, with this layer, the spacesuit would remain intact.
4. Mylar Insulation layer
Moving away from the ripstop layer, you will find the mylar insulation layer. They comprise approximately seven layers and are made of a material found basically in food storage.
As I said, every layer of the spacesuit is essential. The layers are also added to preserve the lives of astronauts. So without these suits, it would be impossible to survive the dangers in space.
However, the mylar layer functions like a cooler or thermo. You are aware of how these items help to keep the temperature of food stable, right? That’s the same thing they do to astronauts. So, the mylar layer keeps the astronaut’s temperature stable.
5. The Last layer
Well, this is not the name of the layer. I only wanted you to know that I am referring to the last layer you will find in a spacesuit. This final layer comes designed with three different fabrics. And the unique thing about them is that they all serve different purposes.
However, one of the layers comes designed with Kevlar. This material is used for the creation of a bulletproof vest. The purpose of the bulletproof vest is to protect the wearer, and it’s the same thing this layer does to the astronaut. By the way, it serves as a protective layer.
Don’t forget I said this final part of the suit comprises of three layers. So we still have two layers left. Now, these two layers serve different functions. One is fire resistant, while the other is waterproof.
Materials For Space Suits: What Would The Future Be?
There is hope for the future looking at the current achievements scientists and engineers have recorded thus far. The existing spacesuit costs a fortune, and it’s essential for space travel.
But then, we hope to see space exploration take a different form. Most of us will also like to visit outer space someday. However, there is still a mind-boggling question regarding spacesuit. That question is, “How would the modern space suit look like?
Well, the truth of the matter is that researchers are working tirelessly. Their primary focus is to identify better materials for the creation of new spacesuits. I mean the spacesuit that represents the future.
We may have one with modern design and materials. And as I said, the materials might be better than what we currently have. The experience and knowledge gathered by the series of space exploration projects might also be enough to make this vision a reality.
So we may soon have a redesigned space suit. Detailed studies by researchers at MIT are ongoing. They are looking at how shape memory alloy coils can be useful and have achieved incredible results so far.
How would shape memory alloy coils shape modern space suit? Well, first, let me say it would improve the contemporary space suit in diverse areas. The unique thing about these coils is that they can return to their original shape when heated.
The vital thing about the current studies regarding the use of these shape memory alloy coils is that much has been achieved. It was discovered that the pressure the coils created alongside each other equaled the pressure required to support astronauts in space.
Modern suits were able to achieve the said pressure, but then, things will be entirely different from the future suits for space travel. It will attain the said pressure by squeezing around astronauts mechanically.
So, have in mind that the spacesuit you will be suing in the future would be less bulky.
There are also more benefits that the spacesuit made of the shape memory alloys can offer. It would have the capacity to squeeze around astronauts whenever it changes to its normal shape and stretches when it cools down to give astronauts the chance to exit.
The design work is still ongoing, and there are still many challenges. And these challenges must be surmounted before we can have a suit for space travel that is way better than the current one. But let’s give scientists and engineers some accolades for a job well done. At least, the concept is somewhat fascinating, even if we have not had a new design.
Spacesuits: Facts Everyone Needs To Know
There are a lot of things about space suits we need to understand. The first is that the spacesuits of male and female astronauts are the same. The only difference you will notice is the size. For females, the suit size might be smaller.
Another thing you might have noticed about space suits is their color. They come in a unique white color. The reason for this is that white can reflect heat one might encounter in space. For the records, the temperature one might experience in outer space under direct sunlight could be as high as 275 degrees Fahrenheit and above.
Again, the spacesuit not only takes years to build. It also takes time to wear. An astronaut might spend over 45 minutes wearing this suit and 1-hour breathing oxygen on earth before take-off.
Wrapping It Up
Now you know the answer to the question, “how much does an astronaut suit cost?” For reference purposes, the spacesuit costs a whopping 12 million US dollars. So it is not something for the common man. These suits come designed with expensive materials. They are also intended to ensure the astronauts’ safety. However, we hope to see a much cheaper suit in the future.