Orlan-M Space Suit

RD&PE Zvezda developed the Orlan-M spacesuit for the Russian Space Program. Orlan is a Russian word for "eagle". The practice of naming space suits after birds originated when the former Soviet government discouraged engineers from talking about their work outside of the workplace.

The Orlan spacesuit was used for Russian EVA's on Salyut, Mir, and the International Space Station. It was derived from the Kretchet suit intended for use on the lunar surface. The "-M" suffix in Orlan-M identifies the configuration of the spacesuit. All the Orlan spacesuits have a semi-rigid construction, with flexible limbs attached to a one-piece rigid body / helmet unit. The suit is entered through a hatch in the rear of the torso. The life support system is contained within the suit's pressurized volume inside the rear entry door. Maximum operation time was three hours when the Orlan-D version of the suit was first used on Salyut 6. Later Orlan-DM versions of the suit increased this period to nine hours. The integrated design meant that no external hoses were required as in the American space suits. The suit standard pressure was 0.40 atmospheres, so that a prebreathe period of only 30 minutes was required. Electrical power and communications were via an umbilical cord to the station. Control of the suit was via a panel on the chest, with the markings in mirror image. The cosmonaut viewed the panel using a mirror on the wrist of the suit.


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