View Full Version : Alternate timeline spacesuit designs?

2014-Mar-04, 11:30 AM
I'm still working on the story about WWII spaceflight (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?149231-Could-human-spaceflight-have-been-achieved-in-World-War-II), and setting up a sequel (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?149497-Lebensraum-Unendlich-In-Search-Of-A-Sequel). The setting has less advanced electronics and more advanced rocketry.

Any suggestions about spacesuit design using 1940s technology and materials?

Could an open-cycle suit work? What pressures would they need, and how much time could a tank last? Is there a plausible method for switching out tanks in the field (in vacuum)?

I know without suit-sized radios, and with limited limb articulation hindering gestures, alternate methods will be needed for communication; connecting phone wires, coded flashing lights.

2014-Mar-04, 01:56 PM
just go back and read the bios of Wiley Post, the aviator who helped work on the first pressure suits (https://www.google.com/search?q=wiley+post+pressure+suit&espv=210&es_sm=119&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=PtsVU9qYA8aukAfc7oHQBA&ved=0CDYQsAQ&biw=1769&bih=897).

Surprised no one ever did movies on the guy, he was larger than life.

2014-Mar-04, 02:36 PM
I was going to mention Wiley Post as well. Look also at old diving suits, pressure suits, and the BIS suit for their moon rocket for inspiration. Giving the technology of the time, pincers like those on early atmospheric diving suits would probably be better than the gloves used on existing spacesuits. Open cycle isn't necessary, though it is simpler, given that diving suits like those of early frogmen of World War II incorporated rebreather technology.

2014-Mar-04, 06:55 PM
What's an "open-cycle suit"?

Do you mean one in which the breathing system is not closed-circle, where carbon dioxide is absorbed and air re-breathed?
If so, for a start, the open breathing system could require a lot of gas. You might like to look at anaesthesia breathing systems and the Mapleson classification. That found that the Mapleson A system achieves remarkable efficiency is gas use, by needing a Fresh Gas Flow (FGF) of only 75% of the breather's minute volume (the gas breathed in one minute - tidal volume x resp. rate). The others are most inefficient, some requiring several times the minute volume in FGF to prevent rebrreatig of expired, and CO2-containing gas.
See: http://www.frca.co.uk/article.aspx?articleid=100137


2014-Mar-04, 06:59 PM
What's an "open-cycle suit"?

One that exhausts breathing air after exhaling. Similar to some diving gear: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scuba_diving#Open-circuit

2014-Mar-04, 08:59 PM
The famous 'pumpkin suits' the shuttle astronauts wore is open-cycle I believe.

2014-Mar-05, 02:53 AM
You might want to look at some of the skin tight (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_activity_suit) designs from the 50's and 60's. Or go the other way and use a dive suit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_diving_suit) as a model. Either one looks like amazing impractical technology that appears to work just fine in real life. They obviously have enough downside problems that we don't use them, but the ideas keep coming back. Personally I like "The Diving Dress" pictured in the second Wikipedia article.

2014-Mar-05, 12:26 PM
The Carmagnolle brothers suit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Scaphandre_Carmagnolle_MnM_Paris.jpg) looks like an alien in armor! I think there might be room for such a design in the cover art, if nowhere else. ;)

2014-Mar-06, 05:30 AM
Some shades of Robby the Robot at least.

2014-Mar-07, 05:42 AM
Saw Iron Sky last nigh to get a feel for Nazi spacesuits. They kind of looked like TIE fighter pilots ;)

The Zeppelin-shaped Moon ferries/carriers were a nice touch, although I doubt I'll be using the flying saucer design. :D