Why Did Apollo Space Suits Have External Hoses?
Someone recently asked: Weren’t the external hoses on the Apollo astronauts’ space suits a risk?
Excellent question. Yes, they were a risk, but an easily managed one with huge benefits.
- First, the risk of damage was managed by:
- Enclosing the tubes inside braided stainless steel as is done today in better plumbing supply hoses. That, in addition to a multi-layer insulation and abrasion wrap made them pretty snug.
- Providing the astronauts with spare hoses.
- Second, using the hoses made it easy to:
- Decouple the suit and the PLSS–even during an EVA–in case of emergency, or in case of entrapment.
- Recharge, clean, and service the suits and life support (PLSS) packs.
- Connect the same (multi-million dollar) suits to the space craft interior life support console for use during dangerous maneuvers (like liftoff and reentry).
- Buddy breathe off another astronaut’s suit in case of damage or failure of a PLSS.
- Use the same (multi-million dollar) spacesuit for tethered EVAs using a long umbilical connected the the life support console inside the spacecraft.
What do you think? Did the gains outweigh the costs? Please rate and leave a comment and let me know. And if you liked this post, you’ll love my upcoming story in Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Pop over to www.cSuartHardwick.com for a free signed e-sampler of award-winning scifi.