Why Astronauts Sometimes Wear Orange Suits & Sometimes White?

By: | November 18th, 2019

Image courtesy NASA

Have you ever wondered why do astronauts wear different suits? Sometimes you find them wearing orange space suit and sometimes white. NASA did not choose orange and white colors for space suits to make a fashion statement. However, these colors were chosen after comprehensive tests and experiments.

Orange-colored Advanced Crew Escape Suit (ACES):

Astronauts are found wearing orange-colored Advanced Crew Escape Suit (ACES) while the space shuttle is ascending or entering into space. This peculiar shade of orange known as “International Orange” was chosen for safety as it is highly visible against any kind of landscape, especially in the sea.

ACES are designed to help astronauts escape from any accidents while taking-off or landing of a space shuttle. They are equipped with:

  • Parachute ripcord and a knife to cut the parachute chords, if the astronaut gets stuck.
  • It even has a life raft at the rear which gets inflated by itself once it comes in contact with water.
  • The ACES is also equipped with radio sets, motion sickness pills, strobe lights, flare kits and mittens.

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) suits:

Extravehicular Activity (EVA) suits are white in color and are worn by astronauts while space-walking. These are designed for survival in near-vacuum of space. Being white in color, it reflects the strong heat of the sun. These are equipped with:

  • The EVAs have temperature control system, which recycles body sweat to keep the astronaut cool in harsh conditions.
  • There is a built-in drinking system.
  • EVAs have an ample supply of oxygen, battery power and radio.
  • These are bulkier than the ACES and have a tough shell to prevent astronauts from small pieces of space

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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