Whole Object Name
Orlan DMA EVA Spacesuit
Spacesuits and Clothing
Orlan is one of the most successful spacesuit designs ever. First used in 1977, this Russian designed suit has been continually modified in the years that have followed - with later models used aboard the International Space Station. The National Space Centre’s Orlan spacesuit is an Orlan DMA Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Spacesuit (serial #3). It is one of three prototypes manufactured by the Russian company, Zvezda, and was used in testing for the spacesuits worn on the Mir space station. In total only 28 Orlan DMA were ever made; 16 for training and testing, and 12 for spaceflight.
Made in 1987 by Zvezda for the Soviet space programme, this spacesuit was used up until 1989 for thermal vacuum testing by cosmonauts Musa Manarov, Gennady Strekalov, Alexandre Serebrov, Alexandra Balandin, and Jean-Loup Chrétien. Between 1993 and 1996 it was used in ergonomic testing in the USA and was on display at the Lyndon B. Johnson Manned Spaceflight Visitor Center. This testing was carried out as part of the development of the EVA spacesuits to be worn on the International Space Station.
Orlan is Russian for ‘Sea Eagle’. The first Soviet EVA spacesuit was worn by Alexei Leonov in 1965. Leonov’s Berkut spacesuit (Russian for ‘Golden Eagle’) was designed for short-term use only outside of the spacecraft. Zvezda was tasked with the design of a more robust spacesuit that could cope with longer spacewalks and repeated use. Originally developed as part of the Soviet Lunar programme for exiting a Moon orbiting vehicle, Orlan went on to become the most successful EVA suit in space history. After the Soviet Lunar programme was cancelled in favour of orbiting space stations, the Orlan spacesuit design was modified to become the Orlan D – where D stands for the first letter in the abbreviation DOS ("long-term orbiting station" in Russian). Orlan DM suits followed (where M stands for ‘Modernised’), before Orlan DMA was developed in the late 1980s for use on Mir. The A in DMA stands for ‘Autonomous’, as, unlike earlier versions, the Orlan DMA was self-sufficient and did not require an umbilical cord to attach it to the spacecraft.
The Orlan DMA is a one-piece body and helmet unit - a liquid cooling garment is worn inside to help regulate temperature. The spacesuit is made from a hard-aluminium alloy upper-torso (HUT), which integrates with a helmet and backpack. Getting into the suit is done through the backpack, which also houses essential life support systems. The helmet has a spherical dual polycarbonate visor, with a layer of gold film helping to shield the eyes in extreme sunlight. The spacesuit could be adjusted to accommodate cosmonauts of various heights ranging from 164-185cm.