Historic Space Suits

  • By Susan K. Lewis
  • Posted 11.11.10
  • NOVA scienceNOW

If you were suddenly transported to the moon, clothed as you are now, your body would suffer a gruesome assault—temperatures as low as -380°F, a barrage of UV radiation, no oxygen to breathe, and perhaps worst of all, no air pressure—causing the dissolved gas in your blood to bubble. In this slide show, see how space-suit design evolved to allow humankind's giant leap onto the moon and beyond.

Launch Interactive

See classic images from Projects Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo as well as space-suit prototypes that never made the cut.


Thomas, Kenneth S. and Harold J. McMann. 2006. US Spacesuits. Springer Praxis Books.


Special thanks to Kenneth S. Thomas for providing editorial review of this slide show.


(WWII Oxygen Pipes, U-2 Pilot Suits)
Courtesy Hamilton Sundstrand
(Project Mercury, Prototype for X-15 Program, Project Gemini, First American Spacewalk, Apollo 11 Moonwalk, First Untethered Spacewalk)
Courtesy NASA
(Suits Considered for Lunar Mission, Spherical Experiment #1)
© Springer/Praxis

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