Orlan training spacesuits
Test and crew-training models derived from the Orlan-M were also developed for simulated training in Earth conditions. Models are the Orlan-V, Orlan-GN and Orlan-T.
This is used for testing in a flying laboratory that provides weightlessness for 30 seconds or so, and also for fit check work on the ground. The suit enclosure and backpack are identical to the normal suit, but there are no Life Support Systems inside the backpack; air is instead provided via a hose (with a flow rate up to 250 liters/minute−1). The suit can also be pressurized by bottles of compressed air placed inside the backpack when the hose is disconnected.
The GN is used in the water immersion facility – the Hydrolaboratory, Гидролаборатории, Gidrolaboratorii – at the TsPK, Cosmonaut Training Center in Zvyozdniy Gorodok, Star City. Two Orlan-GN suits were manufactured and delivered to the NASA hydrolab at JSC to support crew training there, adapted so they could be used with NASA ground support equipment interfaces.
The suit enclosure is the same as the normal suit, but there is no outer cover. The suit does not have autonomous life support; air and cooled water are supplied via external hoses from ground sources. The backpack has a special water/air heat exchanger that cools water entering the spacesuit system and thus the air inside. An emergency air bottle inside the backpack can provide air for up to 15 minutes in case the hose is accidentally disconnected (the suit wearer activates an emergency air supply cock on the suit’s control panel). A pressure regulator on the front of the body enables the removal of air and the maintenance of positive pressure from 0-400 hPa.
A 50-meter umbilical cable attached to the suit provides air, cooling garment water, electrical power and telemetry for those monitoring the training on the “beach” (ground support station), as well as radio communications (via a communications cap, шлемофон, shlemofon, for the suit wearer). Pressure is maintained at 0.40 kgs/cm2.
Weights located on the chest (up to 30 kg), back and arm and legs (0.5 kg each) can be easily removed or added to control the wearer’s neutral buoyancy. The spacesuit itself weighs 100 kg. It can withstand up to 40 training sessions before being refurbished. After 150 sessions the suit is sent back to Zvezda for a major check and overhaul.
The training suit is used at the Vykhod, Выход training center at TsPK in the Egress Simulator. Using this suit, cosmonauts can train in airlock procedures at ambient pressure (sea level) without having to use a pressure chamber. It is a normal spacesuit, with modified ventilation, electrical equipment control and oxygen systems. It can be pressurized via external air sources and can simulate, under ground conditions, various emergency situations such as air leakage, failure of the units, emergency system activation, etc. The spacesuited cosmonaut is suspended by an overhead wire and pulley.
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronauts trying on the Orlan-T spacesuits in the Egress Simulator.
- Atlas Aerospace: “Orlan-GN” spacesuit page
- JAXA: “ISS Astronaut Activity Report, February 2004”: training and photos of JAXA astronauts at Star City
Related page: Hydrolab training