India unveils new spacesuit
ISRO's space agency moves a step closer to sending astronauts into space from its own soil by unveiling new aeronautical attire
The future is orange, it would seem – at least if this new spacesuit designed for the
Indian Space Research Organisation is anything to go by. The space agency is aiming to be only the fourth to send astronauts into space, joining the US, Russia and China, and they’ve decided to stick with the colour International Orange that other agencies have used for decades because it’s highly visible against other landscapes (white, incidentally, is reserved for Extravehicular Activities).
Unveiled a month after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country would send a crew of humans to space by 2022 – coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the country’s independence – the space suit is equipped with a capacity of one oxygen cylinder that can hold enough oxygen for an hour. It is made up of four layers of special lightweight biocompatible technical textiles with advanced fabrication and joining techniques. According to reports, two space suits have been developed so far and a third is underway.
They are being worked on at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and each weighs less than five kilograms (11 pounds). They’ll be worn on the historic journey with the Indian tricolour flag proudly displayed and with the astronauts most likely to be called either gaganauts or vyomanauts since ‘gaga’ and ‘vyom’ are Hindi and Sanskrit for ‘sky’. The agency’s voyage into space for a five-toseven-day mission will also mark 38 years since Rakesh Sharma became the first and only Indian citizen to travel in space. He flew aboard Soyuz T-11 which was operated by the Soviet Union.
The prototype space suit was put on display at the Space Applications Center in Ahmedabad, India, in August