Suit Up Space Style: Stuff You Didn’t Know About the Spacesuit

 

I’m currently writing about spacesuits. And I’m trying to make my fictional spacesuit as realistic as possible.

My suit is futuristic, so I plan to take some liberties with the facts. But the point is, I’ve been doing a bunch of research about spacesuits. And I found out some cool things.

Without further ado, here’s my list of cool things you didn’t know about the spacesuit.

1. They Have Heaters In the Fingers

To clarify, I’m looking at the big, bulky white suits here. You know, the ones that everyone thinks of when they think of an astronaut floating around outside the ISS.

Obviously, the spacesuit keeps humans alive. But to do that, it’s got to do a bunch of things. Including, keeping the temperature regulated.

The gloves have the hard, outer piece known as the EVA glove (EVA = Extravehicular Activity). The inner glove is a comfort glove and it helps pull moisture away from the astronaut’s hand.

Plus, it’s got little heaters in the fingertips. The astronaut turns the heaters on or off with a little switch by their wrist.

It makes sense. Temps swing like 400 degrees in LEO. It wouldn’t do to have frostbite take hold on your fingertips.

2. They Are Tiny Spacecraft

Want to see the world’s tiniest spacecraft? Take a look at the EVA suit. That’s because the spacesuit has to keep a guy alive like any other spacecraft.

Enter the space backpack. That big bulky hunk of machinery you see them wearing on their backs isn’t there for looks. It’s got all the important stuff tucked inside.

That pack is called the Primary Life Support Subsystem (Can I get some oxygen, PLSS???) It’s got all the following:

  • Oxygen for breathing
  • Fans for ventilation
  • CO2 filters to keep you from suffocating
  • A water tank/heating system to heat and cool the water that flows through the thermal undergarments
  • Electricity to power all of the above
  • Oh yeah, and tiny thrusters with fuel to fly you back in case you float off

You get the point. It’s a spacecraft in a backpack. The ultimate jetpack!

3. You Can’t Pick Your Nose

Picking your nose may not sound all that important now… but imagine if you couldn’t do it when you wanted. Or scratch your face, or rub your eyes, or wipe away tears, or tug on your ears.

That’s the situation you’re in when you’re inside a spacesuit. The helmet’s made of super strong plastic so you’ll see as much as possible.

They’re also equipped with their own sunglasses or big fold-down visors. And before you venture out in one of these, they’re sprayed with an anti-fog stuff.

Because that would be the worst, if your facemask fogged up and you couldn’t do a thing about it.

4. The First Suit Was Made By a Bra Company

That’s right folks, the very first space suits capable of EVA were made by the well-known bra company called International Latex Corporation (ILC). They are responsible for Playtex bras and girdles.

When JFK decreed that we would walk on the moon before the decade was up, the space program had a time issue. And they didn’t have much in the works for how they would actually suit up the astronauts on the moon.

NASA opened up the bidding and ILC submitted their idea. ILC was not a large company. Nor was it used to dealing with government contracts. But they got the contract to build the Apollo spacesuits.

Their proposal included accordion-like joints to make the suit more flexible. Similar joints are still part of spacesuits today.

Suit Up Space Style

With its heated fingers and turbo style backpack, this machine packs a useful punch when it comes to exploring space.

Humans and space don’t mix well together. Space is full of all sorts of things that can kill us… quick. No problem though. We’ll bring our own little atmosphere and thermal control along with us.

XOXO,

Becca

SEO, MDs, and ROSCOSMOS

I realized recently, that although I know a lot about social media and how it works, there are still a ton of things out there in the social media world that I really need to brush up on.  Take SEO, for example. Don’t know what that is? Nah, neither did I, until just a few months ago.

Search Engine Optimization is the name of the game these days.  I figured this out when I started looking on job boards (more about that in the next paragraph) and almost every content writer job out there required knowledge of SEO.  Okay self, it’s time to learn about SEO.  As it turns out, the king of the universe, aka Google, aka the sultan of SEO, actually has a Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide available for you to read…  all 240 pages of it. (It might not be that long, but that’s how long it felt.) Anyway, enough about SEO, let’s just say, it’s more important than you might think, and I’ve taken a crash course in it, with hopes of earning an advanced degree sometime in the near future.  Check it out if you have never heard of it before.

Novel update:  I’ve been plugging away (I’m at 73,776 words, to be exact) but I’ve also recently discovered job posting apps.  Who knew that there were so many of them and that there were so many JOBS for writers available!? I was blown away.  Of course, I’m not qualified for most of them. Most require several years of experience, which, even though I’ve been writing business reports for the last 12 years, it’s not article or blog writing or anything journalistic, which is what most of the places hiring freelance writers want.  

And of course, most of the jobs are not in my area, so I have to concentrate on those that are specific to the “freelance” or “work from home” crowd.  And of the ones that I have applied for, I haven’t heard boo from about 90% of them. That said, I did actually get my first paying job as a writer through this means!  Yay! Celebrate! It’s for a marketing firm that handles websites and social media accounts for healthcare professionals. My job description is: Social Media Content Writer.  Tada!

Frankly, I didn’t even know such a thing existed, but now that I do, I realize that there are jobs like this everywhere.  This is, of course, a newly cultivated row in the garden of the writing community. Until the last couple of years, most businesses didn’t mess with social media.  It was maybe only 10 years ago that having a website for your business was optional rather than mandatory. Along with the website, many businesses are finding that a social media presence mandatory as well.  If you’ve got a business, you had better have your ear to the social media grindstone.

Take your doctor, for example.  Since when do doctors have Facebook pages, or Twitter accounts, or even websites?  When I was a kid, you just went to the doctor. My mother never said, “Let me check Facebook for a good podiatrist recommendation.”  But then, when I was a kid, it took AOL 5 minutes of beeping and buzzing and crackling through the phone line, before finally connecting to the internet and alerting me that You’ve Got Mail.  Times have changed my friends!   

My new (part-time) job is writing social media posts for healthcare professionals.  I don’t actually have to post them, the company I work for does that. I simply write them and upload them onto a shared Google Sheet and, slick as snot, they’ve got a whole month’s worth of Facebook and Twitter posts for Dr. SoandSo, MD’s OBGYN Clinic.  

I get to write short, snappy social media posts which usually include an attached article from a reputable source pertaining to the practice, and researched by me, as well as several pertinent hashtags.  It’s cool stuff. So far, I’ve learned that your feet have 250,000 sweat glands in them, hemorrhoids are more common than you think with 1 in 4 Americans walking around with them, alcohol is the deadliest drug of all the drugs out there, and you can actually get Botox at your dentist (well, not all dentists, but some).  

It’s a fun gig and I’m very very very very very very (did I mention very?) grateful for it.  

And back to the book!  I am at an exciting part, preparing for a daring, edge-of-your-seat escape aboard a Russian spacecraft called a Soyuz.  Which, of course, requires lots of research about the Soyuz and its inner workings. Russian Space Web and Roscosmos are my newest internet friends.  If you don’t know, my novel takes place on a space station in the near distant future. Futuristic enough to have some sci fi elements, yet not too distant that we’re still using the Soyuz, a cold war era space machine, to get up there.  

My biggest hurdle so far?  Forcing myself to NOT read parts that I’ve already written.  Eventually, I will have to go back and do major editing. But editing at this point is counterproductive.  A long piece of work like this is sort of like a developing organism. It starts off as one thing and morphs into something different by the end.  You’ve got to fight back the urge to revisit the beginning and make changes because if you do that, you’ll never finish!

Take care!

XOXO,

Becca