Space Foundation News

"George" Finds a New Home at Swigert Aerospace Academy

Written by: developer

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 21, 2009) — The Space Foundation has loaned its authentic NASA spacesuit, nicknamed “George,” to Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy in Colorado Springs. The Academy, which opened Aug. 18, is a partnership between the Space Foundation and Colorado Springs School District 11 (D11). George, who also serves as the Space Foundation’s education “mascot,” is shown here being installed in the middle school’s main hallway.

Space Foundation education specialists are helping D11 develop the Academy’s aerospace-themed curriculum that both meets district, state, and national standards and improves student proficiency in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM). The “hands-on, minds-on” classroom approach includes activities designed to build student enthusiasm for technical subjects. Projects will include rocketry, robotics, mission control simulations, and other scientifically grounded space-based activities.

George, which is actually an Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU), was donated to the Space Foundation by his manufacturer, Hamilton Sundstrand, a subsidiary of Hartford, Conn.-based United Technologies.

The EMU, used for Space Shuttle/International Space Station missions, is an independent anthropomorphic system that provides environmental protection, mobility, life support, and communications for an astronaut to perform extra-vehicular activity (EVA) in earth orbit. The EMU consists of a hard upper torso (HUT) assembly, a primary life support system (PLSS), arms, gloves, Apollo-style “bubble” helmet/extravehicular visor assembly (EVVA), and a soft lower torso assembly (LTA).

In space, the astronaut wears several additional garments under the EMU: a maximum absorbency garment (a modified “Depends”-type diaper), a thermal control undergarment (long johns), and a liquid cooling and ventilation garment (incorporates clear plastic tubing through which chilled liquid water flows for body temperature control, and ventilation tubes for waste gas removal), and a “Snoopy cap,”(a brown and white fabric communications cap dating back to the Apollo days that incorporates a pair of earphones and microphones). The EMU is pressurized to an internal pressure of 4.3 psi (30 kPa) and can support an astronaut for 8½ hours, with 30 minutes of reserves in the case of primary life support failure.

Hamilton Sundstrand, which makes the EMU suits for NASA, designs, and manufactures aerospace systems for commercial, regional, corporate and military aircraft, and is a major supplier for international space programs.

Although George has never been in space, he is an authentic EMU suit.