Berkut – Space suit for spaceship Voskhod 2

Berkut – Space suit for spaceship Voskhod 2

  • In use in the years: 1964 – 1965
  • Spaceships: Voskhod 2.
  • Weight: 20 kg plus backpack 21 kg.
Berkut – Created on the order of rebuilding the one-person cabin of the Vostok into Voskhod, adapted for a crew of three. The cabin equipment had to be kept to a minimum, including the spacesuits. On October 12, 1964, the Voskhod 1 spacecraft was launched into space. In it sat three astronauts dressed only in woolen trousers and jackets. The mission was surprisingly successful, but the risk was very high. Another goal set by the competing US and USSR was to go into open space (EVA).

Due to space saving in the cabin, the new Soviet suit, called Berkut, or golden eagle, chose a soft construction for itself. To ensure the oxygen supply for a longer period of time, it comes with a backpack containing three 2-liter oxygen cylinders. Ensuring its supply for 45 minutes. With this equipment, on March 18, 1965, the Voskhod 2 spacecraft set off into space. The crew consisted of Pavel Belyaev and Alexei Leonov. In the vacuum of space, his suit expanded in volume and literally turned into concrete. Returning to the ship, Leonov realized that the pressure chamber would simply not fit anymore.

He started fighting for his life. He lowered the pressure to a critical 270 hPa, which corresponds to the pressure at an altitude of 10,000 meters above sea level. This reduced the stiffness of the suit, and he finally made it into the chamber, but headfirst. So he had to do a lot of gymnastics to get into the correct position to return to the ship. During this manoeuvre, he got stuck in the narrower part of the chamber, but eventually managed to complete it successfully. He spent 23 minutes outside the ship, 12 of them in open space. Cooling of the suit also turned out to be problematic, Leonov overheated during the space walk and was in danger of collapsing.

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