Russian Spacesuits: The Soviet / Russian Space Suit History Paperback – 27 Aug 2003
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From the reviews:
"It is an important contribution to the literature of manned space flight. The authors cover a lot of ground in this detailed book, from pre-space age high-altitude pressure suits to the Sokol and Orian suits used on present-day Soyuz/ISS missions. … There are several appendices, including full-page photos and technical descriptions of each suit type … . A first-rate book for anyone interested in the more technical aspects of space flight." (Liftoff, Issue 225, January-February, 2005)
"The book is intended as a documentary history of space suit development, and covers the suits designed for all phases of the Russian programme. … the authors have thoughtfully provided an appendix giving a page of technical details and a photograph for some 30 different suits. For the serious student, there is also a bibliography, an index and a tabular summary of EVA statistics … . it features a wealth of photos, diagrams detailing this - one must admit - rather specialised subject." (International Space Review, 2005)
"This is the story of Russian spacesuit design. … The Russian authors are the very people who designed the spacesuits that made Russia the world’s leading space faring nation. … This book tells the story of all the different Russian spacesuits, starting with the bright orange pressure suit worn by Yuri Gagarin and the first cosmonauts. … Strongly recommended." (Brian Harvey, Astronomy & Space, June, 2004)
"This work is … by some of the most instrumental figures in the development of Soviet/Russian EVA suits, scientists who designed the first space suit worn by Yuri Gagarin in 1961 … . Each suit is carefully explained, and illustrated with a variety of photographs … . This book is, in short a complete history of the development of Soviet/Russian space suits, unparalleled in detail and ease of understanding. This book is a must for anyone interested in space suit design and history … ." (Laura Parker, AURORA, November, 2003)
"This is an excellent book and one that offers a wealth of data on a subject very little is known about. … The book includes fascinating revelations of the suits intended to be used on the Soviet manned lunar program … . There are also handy sections on ‘who’s who’ in Russian suit technology, and three appendix covering the statistical and technical data. Long overdue, this is a must for any space library … ." (Dave Shayler, Spaceflight, Vol. 46 (3), 2004)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
The space suit technology, as developed in the Soviet Union, was even applicable to our canine friends, some of which did ballistic flights into space dressed more or less like the dog Milou in Hergés "Tin-Tin on the Moon". Thus we know where to turn if we want to walk our dogs on the Moon.
When Westerners started to fly in space alongside the Soviets, later Russians, in Saljut, Mir and International Space Station, it was as had inhabitants from different planets met. Now we may appreciate all those differences in technical culture as exemplified in the space suits of the Cosmonauts. There is, of course all the common ground resulting from like problems demanding like solutions, but overlying we see these subtle differences arising from different technical and engineering usages of two different cultures.
The book is co-authored by some of the actual developers of space suits in the then Soviet Union, later Russia, and thus as authoritative on the subject as can be. Fascinatingly, also, the historical developments inside the Soviet Union/Russia and internationally, reflect in much that the space suit developers had to contend with.
The scope of common activities betveen the Russians and the West European ESA was news to this rewiewer. We also note, that the Chinese "taikonauts" wear protective suits designed by the nowadays "Zvezda Development and Production Company". We also read of the challenge of rendering original technical texts in Russian into readable English, and concomitant difficulties inherent in the fact that, not only is translation of language required, but even the transliteration from one system of letters, i.e. Cyrillic, into our Roman alphabet poses its own problems and pitfalls. On the whole, the endeavour has been crowned with success. The system of measurements are, thankfully, the same on both sides of this barrier of language and glyphs.
All in all fascinating facts from a space program now slowly opening itself to inquisitive Western eyes. Great hopes for the future is embodied in the prospects of joint developments of the advanced spacesuits for space station EVA and the lunar and martian surfaces.
I bought this book after I had the opportunity to examine, hands-on, a Russian SOKOL rescue suit. What struck me was the sheer simplicity of the design and I wanted to know more about this suit.
This book provides much of that background, plus that of the famous Orlan EVA suits and others in the history of the Russian space program.
Compared to the related books on US Spacesuits (Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration), it is remarkable how different Russian suits are, and how much more conservative their designs are. Russian suits, like their spacecraft are relatively stable designs undergoing incremental improvements, probably in response to the much fewer resources available to them for development.
The book covers the development well, although I did not notice any mention of ideas borrowed from US suits, whereas the book on US spacesuits has a wry mention of the remarkable similarity of some US suit components to Russian ones.
As with the US spacesuit book, the same comments on the lack of color illustrations and technical details apply.
If you enjoy this excellent book, try also 'Walking to Olympus : An EVA Chronology' by David S Portree, and Robert C Trevino which details the bulk of EVAs up to the turn of the century.
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