Berkut – Spacesuit for spacecraft Voskhod 2
- In use over the years: 1964 – 1965
- Space ships: Voskhod 2.
- Mass: 20 kg plus backpack 21 kg.
Berkut – Created on the order of the conversion of a one-person cabin from Vostok to Voskhod. Adapted to a three-person crew. The equipment of the cabin had to be kept to a minimum, and this also applied to the suits. On October 12, 1964, the Voskhod 1 spacecraft took off into space. There were three cosmonauts in it, dressed only in woolen trousers and jackets. The mission was surprisingly successful, but the risk was very high. Another goal of the competing US and USSR was to go out into the open space (EVA).
In order to save space in the cabin, the new Soviet suit, called Berkut, i.e. the golden eagle, chose a soft construction for itself. To keep it supplied with oxygen for an extended period of time, a backpack containing three 2-liter oxygen cylinders is included. Providing its inflow for 45 minutes. With this equipment, on March 18, 1965, the Voschod 2 spacecraft set off into space. The crew was made up of Pavel Belyayev and Alexey Leonov. Under the conditions of space vacuum, his suit expanded in volume and literally turned into concrete. On his way back to the ship, Leonov realized that he simply couldn’t fit into the pressure chamber anymore.
He started fighting for his life. He lowered the pressure to the critical 270 hPa, which corresponds to a pressure of 10,000 meters above sea level. It reduced the stiffness of the suit and eventually got into the chamber, but head first. So he had to flexibly get into the correct position for returning to the ship. During this maneuver, he got stuck in the narrower part of the chamber, but eventually succeeded. He spent 23 minutes outside the ship, 12 of them in open space. Cooling the suit turned out to be problematic as well, Leonov was overheating during the space walk and he was in danger of collapsing.