Yesterday, I attended the Suited for Space open discussion at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. I had already been a member of Air & Space's Social event in July before the traveling exhibit opened (I'll blog on that later), but you can never learn enough about the space suit!!
I met up with a couple of fellow Space Tweeps and, following a group photo with astronaut Chris Cassidy (aka "Stone Cold Cutie"), we headed up to gallery 211, where we could get up close and personal with some of the suit components.
I submit that what ensued should surely go down in space geek history.
Retired Astronaut Don Thomas brought for show-and-tell a Russian pressure suit, or Sokol. Joe wanted to get in it desperately. In the end he won, and Don obligingly helped him into it, acting as a suit technician.
We thought at the time it was a backup or mockup, but as he was helping Joe into the suit, Don told us that this Sokol was actually flown in space! It was worn by Michael Foale during Expedition 8 - WOW!
When Joe was completely suited up, strangers inundated him with requests to have their photo taken with him. It's not everyday you get to have your photo taken with a cosmonaut (real or impersonating)! Space suits - as well as pressure suits - are neat.
Below are just a couple of the pictures I took.
|Just put one. Foot. In. Front. Of. The. Other.|
|Where does my head go?|
|"The Russians have this sophisticated system of rubber banding"|
|The Astro Fonz|
|Shall We Dance?|
|Like any good astronaut, Joey knows how to effectively sign paperwork while suited up|