Top of page

David Saint-Jacques explains how a spacesuit works


Uploaded on August 20, 2019


David Saint-Jacques explains how a spacesuit works

2019-08-20 - Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques describes the parts of a spacesuit and how the suit protects an astronaut during a spacewalk on the International Space Station. (Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA)


Text: What are the parts of a spacesuit?

How does it protect an astronaut during a spacewalk?

David Saint-Jacques: A spacesuit is a technological marvel that succeeds in creating a comfortable, even very comfortable environment.

And, actually, I'm going to take this opportunity to—this may be an opportunity to show you the suit, if you're interested. I have one right here.

This is a spacesuit. So, as you can see, it's quite massive, eh, because there are several layers to protect us against temperature differences, so it's insulated.

And the most important thing, of course, is what keeps us alive, the backpack. This part contains our oxygen, the carbon dioxide removal system, radio, cooling system and humidity control. There's also a small—some jet propulsion units if, by accident, we disconnect from the Station, we have a small, portable jet-propelled system to get home.

Cameras, lights—we can—when it's sunny, we put our sunglasses on, like that. At night, you can roll back the visor. Control computer here with temperature control. The gloves, which are the only truly custom-made part of the suit. Everything else is in separate pieces and assembled according to the length of the arms and legs, but the gloves are made to measure. We look at the little mirrors to see the controls because we can't really see them directly. We use these mirrors to look at them.

And, on the left arm is our little notebook in which there is a summary of all the operations we do during the spacewalk, a summary of all the possible operations with the suit to operate it. And, of course, family photos to take with us in orbit as a souvenir.


For the ownership and usage of the videos, please see the Terms section.

Date modified: