What Is a Pressure Suit

A Pressure suit refers to the suit worn by the pilots and astronauts who fly at high altitude where the pressure of air is too low, making it difficult for a person to breathe and survive when exposed unprotected. This suit serves as a protective layer which helps in providing full pressure or partial pressure in high altitude environment. This is because, any surface which is at an altitude of above 33000 feet from the sea level, requires supplementary oxygen for breathing to avoid the condition of Hypoxia which refers to deprivation of oxygen. Thus, these pressure suits offer that additional pressure which is required in areas of low pressure.

Pressure suits could be partial pressure suits or full pressure suits. While the former as the name implies provides pressure to only certain parts of the body, thereby giving protection only to certain altitude, the latter pressurizes the entire body without any limit on the altitude. Such full pressure suits are generally used by astronauts who get exposed to space where there is very low pressure and are hence referred as spacesuits. There is a very little possibility of someone surviving in space without a spacesuit due to the hard vacuum present there and the greatest danger lies in holding the breathe before getting exposed, as the explosive decompression subsequently can damage the lungs.

Pressure suits are not only designed to provide oxygen but have many other important features that are to be considered before getting into the space.

  • Space suite or pressure suits are also used to remove the excess carbon dioxide which is released by the astronauts while breathing, which otherwise could get built up to deadly higher levels.
  • The extremes of temperature in space are also managed by space suits which are insulated heavily with several layers of fabric without an outer reflective cover. The heat produced by the astronauts while doing his activities could lead to the sweat getting fogged up in the helmet resulting in the astronaut getting dehydrated. Space suits helps in removing such excess heat with the use of the fans or heat exchangers and thereby blowing out cool air to remove the heat.
  • Space suits are designed with helmets which come with clear plastic making the vision clear by reducing the reflection of sunlight and glare. Infact modern space suits come along with mounted lights which helps the astronaut to see into the shadows also.
  • Mobility within the space suit that is inflated is also properly taken care by keeping the spacesuits well equipped with special joints that will ease the astronauts to bend their legs, arms, knees and ankles.
  • Another amazing aspect is that space suits are also designed with transmitters and receivers which enable communication during space walking with the controllers and other astronauts.