The new Orlan-MKS spacesuits will be delivered to Russian cosmonauts on the International Space Station in fall 2015. They will replace the Orlan-MK suits currently in use.
The newly designed Orlan-MKS suit is the fifth spacesuit designed by the Research and Development Production Enterprise Zvezda, which is part of the holding company Aircraft Equipment. These suits differ from the previous Orlan-MK suits by featuring automatic temperature control, which frees the cosmonaut from having to switch on his own temperature settings. In another development, the rubber shells have been replaced with a more durable polyurethane material. The display panel has also been updated.
The service life of the previous generation of Orlan-MK suits is set to expire in the near future, but they are sufficient to work on the ISS and in open space for the time being, explained Vladimir Solovyov, director of the Russian ISS team, to ITAR-TASS.
Zvezda is also developing a jetpack that would allow cosmonauts to return automatically to the ISS in the event of any damage to the secured connecting system. According to Vladimir Solovyov, this invention would enable the cosmonaut to return to the mooring point with the click of a button.
The Research and Development Production Enterprise Zvezda, which is part of the holding company Aircraft Equipment, works closely with a number of Russia’s leading research institutes, design bureaus, and production enterprises, and also actively participates in various international programs. Zvezda has been recognized as a world-leader for the aerospace community in several of its areas of work.