Image: ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet testing Skinsuit in weightlessness

March 19, 2014, European Space Agency
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: Suit up for Skinsuit

Related Stories

Suit up for Skinsuit

January 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

February 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 astronauts who ...

Underwater astronaut on the Moon

September 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 the Moon.

Image: 1983 ESA Spacelab sled experiment

November 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 or hot air was ...

Recommended for you

NASA powers on new instrument staring at the Sun

March 16, 2018

NASA has powered on its latest space payload to continue long-term measurements of the Sun's incoming energy. Total and Spectral solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS-1), installed on the International Space Station, became fully ...

Dawn reveals recent changes in Ceres' surface

March 15, 2018

Observations of Ceres have detected recent variations in its surface, revealing that the only dwarf planet in the inner solar system is a dynamic body that continues to evolve and change.


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.