Image: ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet testing Skinsuit in weightlessness

Mar 19, 2014
Credit: CNES/Novespace, 2014

Astronauts have been known to grow by up to 7 cm as their spines lengthen in weightlessness. As a result, many suffer from backache during their missions. ESA is supporting the development of a suit designed to combat the lack of gravity effects by squeezing the body from the shoulders to the feet with a similar force to that felt on Earth.

Each Skinsuit is tailor-made for its wearer with a bidirectional weave. The suits need to fit tightly but comfortable, while creating the right amount of force in the right places.

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet tested his Skinsuit on a parabolic flight in March. Tilted at 45°, an Airbus offers up to 20 seconds of at each apex of its rollercoaster ride.

ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen will be the first astronaut to evaluate the Skinsuit in space when he leaves for the International Space Station next year. Thomas will follow Andreas to the orbiting laboratory in 2016.

ESA's Space Medicine Office is working with the universities of Kings College and University College in London, England, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, to test the prototypes.

Explore further: SpaceX mile-high escape test will feature 'Buster' the dummy

Related Stories

Suit up for Skinsuit

Jan 13, 2014

The Space Medicine Office of ESA's European Astronaut Centre is managing a project that could help astronauts overcome back problems in space, simply by wearing a high-tech tight-fitting 'skinsuit'.

ESA image: Team spirit

Feb 12, 2014

Spaceflight is all about teamwork. From the five space agencies that build and maintain the International Space Station to the mission control centres on Earth and the European, Japanese, American and Russian ...

Underwater astronaut on the Moon

Sep 12, 2013

ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy and ESA astronaut instructor Hervé Stevenin slipped into the roles of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin last week for an underwater simulation of the historic mission to ...

Image: 1983 ESA Spacelab sled experiment

Nov 27, 2013

A test subject sitting on Sled, an ESA experiment launched on Spacelab-1 on 28 November 1983. Sled investigated space sickness by monitoring eye movement as the seat moved horizontally and tilted while cold ...

Recommended for you

Video: An enormous "plasma snake" erupts from the Sun

May 01, 2015

Over the course of April 28–29 a gigantic filament, briefly suspended above the surface of the sun, broke off and created an enormous snakelike eruption of plasma that extended millions of miles out into ...

20 ExoWorlds are now available for naming proposals

May 01, 2015

Although people have been naming celestial objects for millennia, the IAU has the task of assigning scientifically recognised names to newly discovered celestial bodies by its member countries. The NameExoWorlds ...

Giant telescope takes close look at Jupiter's moon Io

May 01, 2015

With the first detailed observations through imaging interferometry of a lava lake on a moon of Jupiter, the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory places itself as the forerunner of the next generation of ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.