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photos by Gary
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The day I finally met the Krechet
Below are the 2 photos I got of the Krechet suit on display
at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum
Ben Guenther's NASM Krechet Suit
Above: Rare B&W photo
of the main control panel for the Krechet suit and, to the right, a diagram
showing the full Cyrillic text and the meaning of each label on it.
Above: 2 new photos sent to me by my friend Julius
deRoo, of the Netherlands, from his recent space museum tour of Russia.
These are color photos from both sides of the Kreceht suit control panel.
(Ed: Julius got to put the suit on!)
This spacesuit was designed specifically
for the Soviet manned lunar program for the cosmonaut who would have walked
on the moon if the program had eventually succeeded. Called "Krechet"
(Gyrfalcon or Tamed Falcon), it was designed and built by the Zvezda bureau.
The suit weighed approximately
90 kg/198 lbs (only about 33 lbs on the moon) and was capable of about
10 hours of operation between each consumables reload. The suit was
designed to operate for a total of 48 hours, including the two EVA to and
from the LOK in lunar orbit.
The suit was the first semi-rigid
design ever built, with a hard metallic shell for the torso and (relatively)
soft cloth arms and legs. This is the same concept that is now incorporated
into both the Russian and American extra-vehicular spacesuits.
Another innovation was the hinged
backpack which, when opened, allowed the cosmonaut to climb into the suit
through the rear vs. putting it on like a normal suit. This process greatly
simplified donning the suit and increased it's reliability over suits with
a more conventional zipper opening.
The control panel can be seen on
the chest area of the suit. It had 11 buttons for controlling suit functions
and various dials and indicators for suit systems and consumables status.
It could be folded out for use or stowed against the chest when the cosmonaut
One other interesting feature which
I read of is the use of a "hoola-hoop" metal ring attached to the cosmonaut's
back. The idea was that, since he was to be alone on the lunar surface,
should he fall over and be without assistance to get back up, he could
utilize the hoop by simply rolling back over on his side and then using
his arms and legs to get back up.
One of the suits, like many other
Soviet space artifacts, was sold at auction by Sotheby's of London. Opening
bid was listed at $200,000 - $250,000. I've heard that Ross Perot bought
it and he plans to someday return it to Russia.
to read an excerpt from David S. F. Portree's
monograph on the Krechet suit and
Soviet lunar EVA plan
to read an excerpt from the Sotheby's catalogue,
describing the suit and some of
to Soviet Lunar page
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