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Logs: Designer Space Suits
posted on February 04, 2002
log entries (1)

Mark Shuttleworth:

This morning got off to a slightly rocky start, with the left brain still being on Houston time while the right brain had moved over to Frankfurt. Unfortunately Denis the training manager has insisted that Moscow training happen on Moscow time. So getting all faculties present and accounted for early on was a little challenging, to say the least. At 4am I was wide awake (and later learned that Roberto was too). Or at least, my eyes were firmly open even if the optic nerve wasn't taking the data anywhere useful. Hopefully tomorrow will be better, although it took nearly the whole week to get to Houston time last week and may take the same to get back.

Anyway, we got off to a humorous start with space suits. Not the "float around and breathe pure oxygen while looking like a lost scuba diver from Mars" type, nor the "glass helmet that looks like an IBM advert" type, but the distinctly less sexy "luminous blue/green cosmonaut gym suit" type. These are the clothes we wear on the station and during the soyuz flight. These are very special clothes. They are 100% cotton, specially treated. They are produced in a way that ensures a minimal amount of fluff and fuzz floating around on the station. Over 15 years you can accumulate a lot of fluff on a station. They have passed rigorous tests for fire safety. They have passed rigorous tests for absorbtion and adhesion and probably even underwear creep. They have passed a LOT of tests.

Unfortunately, they passed these tests in the 1960's, in the Soviet Union, before S*viet became a designer label. Waaayyyy before. And due to lack of funds or interest, they have never been updated. If it ain't broke don't fix it, I guess. They may have been a fashion statement back then, at least in the Soviet Union, but now they look about as cool (or as useful) as spandex Star Trek suits when Captain Kirk was still Captain Kirk and not The Big Head. I suppose they may be cool in a very retro sense. Makes you think how fast technology and style move, even in workout clothes. Modern gym clothing uses pretty advanced fabric technology to be light and effective at transporting sweat away from the body etc. There are whispered rumours about 'unofficial' clothes that are basically off-the-shelf cotton gym stuff, but we didn't see that today. No, Roberto and I walked into the lecture to find all the lumo cosmonaut kit arranged in the room like a museum. Or the dressing room of a revival of austin powers set in a gym.
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