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Frontiers Special Report 2017 January

“It’s a suit that will get Starliner astronauts home.” —Chris Ferguson (Continued from Page 3) 8 | FRONTIERS 2017 control features, a push-to-talk switch and a voice-adjustment switch. Loops or straps located around the neck area of the suit assist in zipping up the helmet or are used as an aid should rescue workers need to remove an incapacitated astronaut from the capsule after landing. The suit is built in layers. The first consists of Gore-Tex fabric, not available commercially, that is referred to as a “gas container;” it allows water vapor, but not air, to pass through. A second layer, called a restraint cover, is made of lightweight Nomex material that is fire-retardant, abrasion-resistant and high-strength. “Imagine a balloon that contains gas; that’s the first layer,” Diaz said. “Another layer, the restraint cover, gives the spacesuit its shape.” The suit receives “gas” from a surface, is larger than those used in previous space missions. “A wider visor provides greater peripheral vision,” Diaz said. Astronauts wear a communications headset beneath the soft helmet, connected by a cable that runs inside the suit and down the torso before it exits externally. Outside of the suit, it connects by another cable to a headset interface unit, or HIU, that has volume


Frontiers Special Report 2017 January
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