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  1. Member Since
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    Jan 11, 2014, 8:46 AM - STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #1

    My spring goal is to make STS-135 astronaut advanced crew escape suit. So far I have managed to get all fabrics I need and most of the hardware. Neck rings and visors are a problem that I need to solve quickly. Visors will be most likely vacuum formed but I haven’t found a company that could make realistic (or even any kind of rings) looking rings for suit-helmet connection. It is likely that I wont make gloves now. Maybe in the future.



    Here is what I have now:


    Fabric is outdoor interior polyester that have similar weave and feel as the real fabric. Patches have orange Velcro background like originals. As you see, I will be ESA astronaut. I have airforce astronaut wings thag with my name on it. I tried to find civilian version, but I could not find it.


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    Next image has most of hardware I will need. Only clasp and round connector are made for the suit. Everything else just looks litlebit similar than real stuff. Plastic tube has red glow in the dark powder glued to walls. Astronauts have this kind of tubes in their suit upper arm pockets.


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    Round control panel in the right side of suit, has caused lots of difficulties. First I tried to press right shape from thin aluminium, but it did not work well. Second attempt was Sculpey test. It worked better and final version is in the left. I will use Sculpey part or cast it to aluminium.


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    Real astronaut suit has at least 10 zippers. Longest zipper is covered with black silicone, for more realistic look. Suit will open from back.


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    Fifth image has more fabrics, Velcro and other materials. Blue things are cooling garment sleeves. I did sew narrow silicone tube inside sleeve. Children’s raincoat has right coloured material for collar inside neck ring. Black fabric is material for radio cap inside helmet.


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    I will also need lots of straps and reflectors for the suit and helmet.


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    Helmet base (surpluss from Robert Clarke Modelmaking) looks like this. It is shaped like mercury era helmets so it is slightly different than helmets during shuttle era. I have to reshape opening, fill the round hole and cut it lower from neck opening. Helmet will have cooling fan.


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    Some of the sewing patterns. I will make couple of short cuts in desingn.

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    All help, tips and ideas are very welcome!
    I will post step by step images.
  2. Member Since
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    Jan 18, 2014, 6:23 AM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #2

    Orange outer layer in real suit is attached with zippers around pressure suit. Most visible are 2 zippers along main zipper that astronaut uses when getting suit on. To mimic look of real suit I sew three zippers side by side.

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    This triple zipper is 2 inch wide. It makes normal trousers (leg parts connect at crotch) shape impossible, because wide zipper has to have space. This problem has been solved in real space suits by sewing legparts separately to "swim suit" shaped body. I made this test piece before making final pattern.

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    Last edited by Teacherinspace; Jan 18, 2014 at 10:20 AM.
  3. Member Since
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    Jan 18, 2014, 11:37 AM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #3

    This helmet was originally made to resemble Mercury era helmets. There is 2 inch round hole that needs to be filled. Helmet is polyester resin and fiberglass.

    What would be best way to make this hole disappear? More fiberglass and resin?
  4. RPF Premium Member nick daring's Avatar
    Member Since
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    Jan 18, 2014, 11:43 AM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #4

    Cool project! Can't wait to see it come together.
  5. Member Since
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    Jan 29, 2014, 1:50 PM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #5

    very nice! i have a smilar project on the go, am hoping to create an ACES suit for this year's Yuri's Night. i stumbled across your post as i was searching for detail on the large rear zipper. a working neck ring is a huge challenge, at this point i expect to cut a non-working one from MDF, and later use it to fabricate a mold which would then be used to cast an aluminum ring. Your plastic tube with red glow-in-the-dark powder: how effective is that? I had planned to use an actual glowstick, available from camping stores. Nice work on the cooling suit, looks authentic Good luck with the rest, and i look forward to seeing the end result!
  6. Member Since
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    Feb 1, 2014, 6:30 AM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #6

    hurrah! i fanally found someone else who has this project! Mine is based around an old Orange east german CBRN-suit which i have turned into an overall with the zipper on the back. so far i have the leg pockets somewhat done. The neckring and helmet is proving a challange though. Id love to see how you are going to solve it and maybe share some ideas. You have also chosen almost the exact same patches as me exept for the flag, mine is swedish. where did you get all the metal hardware?
  7. Member Since
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    Feb 1, 2014, 7:59 AM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #7

    I am very happy if you could participate this project. All ideas are wellcome! I will ofcourse tell everything I have found out.

    My plan is to make neck ring from MDF. One metal work school promised to make me these rings, but it seems that they cant. Rings to helmet would be probably (google this) formable aluminium trim(s) covered partly with narrow flat sheet. I will test bending aluminium profiles, but I am pretty sure it wont work. Formables are softer so they should be better option.

    Things still missing: 11" grey plastic dome for helmet. Reliable vacuumformer (I am looking for a company who could do this) for visor. Vinyl H-seal for helmet opening.

    Hole in the helmet side is now filled with epoxy resin and larger hole reshaped to shuttle era style.
    Plastic tube is not as bright as glowstick, but it will last decades. It is clearly visible in the dark.
    Last edited by Teacherinspace; Feb 1, 2014 at 10:17 AM.
  8. Member Since
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    Feb 17, 2014, 3:07 PM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #8

    I have found company that makes MDF subfoofer rings. They have now neck ring measurements for 10" (outer diameter) helmet (that you can use too if you need neck rings). I will share images when neck ring is ready. My plan is now to connect helmet and ring with magnets.
    Last edited by Teacherinspace; Feb 26, 2014 at 11:59 AM.
  9. Member Since
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    Feb 18, 2014, 5:02 PM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #9

    subwoofer rings, nice!

    where are you getting your data on, say, neck ring sizes? is 10" simply based on the size of your 'mercury era' type helmet? I have done a lot of googling but have not come up with anything concrete. Additionally, there are things like the pressure suit hardware for which data seems really scarce. I have found one document which appears to have a dimensionless but to-scale drawing of the oxygen manifold, and between this and photographs on-line I have been able to come up with 'best guess' dimensions. based only on photographs, I determined that the suit controller (which you have molded with sculpy) has approximately a 4" diameter. how did you determine this measurement?

    I am putting together some CAD drawings of these parts and will try to share them this week if you are interested.
  10. Member Since
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    Feb 19, 2014, 2:41 PM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #10

    10" is the helmet size. Real astronaut helmets go in 3 sizes (if I remember right) and largest should be aproximately 10". Right size for me would be 2cm smaller. For a replica of mercury era helmet this helmet is slightly too large. They seemed to be smaller than shuttle era helmets (based in images).
    All real measurements seem to be unpublished since similar items are still used in military. Even closeup images have been difficoult to find. Suit itsef has many sizes.
    I have based my measurements to patches. Real mission patch (135) is 13,2cm high and 11cm wide. Nasa patch (largest measure) is a bit more than 4". Sculpy controller should be smaller than 4". White strap is very close to 2cm and white pulley wheel close to 3cm. I have calculated these from images and for sure I can be wrong...

    I am interrested in all images!
    Last edited by Teacherinspace; Feb 19, 2014 at 2:54 PM.
  11. Member Since
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    Feb 19, 2014, 4:00 PM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #11

    my estimate on the suit controller diameter was based on the pull-down-strap being 1" flat webbing (~25mm). If it is indeed 3/4" (~20mm) webbing than i am way off

    I too have read about 3 sizes of neck ring and multiple sizes of suit (esp since more women were flying on the shuttle) for ACES. I read somewhere about the U2 suit having a 9.5" neck ring (inside diameter i would expect) but i have lost the original source of that remark (or I dreamed it up?). I have found a lot of good high res images on flickr, it took a lot of browsing since they are not well tagged or described. Will follow up with list of links.
  12. Member Since
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    Feb 19, 2014, 4:31 PM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #12

    I also tought that webbing would be 1", but it looks more narrow in images. 9,5" neck ring inner diameter sounds very realistic.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  13. Member Since
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    Feb 20, 2014, 12:18 AM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #13

    I got today even more accurate measurements for patch (flown!) and it is: 4.25 inches at its widest point and 5.25 inches tall.
    This image has worked fine for counting measurements.
  14. Member Since
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    Feb 20, 2014, 2:32 PM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #14

    Today I finished final pattern for the suit and cut the fabric.
    There will be some differences to real one: I wont make extra piece of fabric under arm pit. I will leave some plaits of. Fit will be slightly slimmer than original since I wont have so much clothing and things under the garment. Hopefully I can start sewing tomorrow.

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  15. Member Since
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    Feb 21, 2014, 4:15 PM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #15

    Here is what I managed to sew today. It took 3 hours to sew these pen-pockets and 2 other very simple things. There is still one mistake that I need to fix tomorrow.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Pocket on the left is for left sleeve. Pocket right is in larger pocket in a right leg.
  16. Member Since
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    Feb 21, 2014, 6:01 PM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #16

    looking good!

    I am cataloguing my resources here Advanced Crew Escape Suit - References on the Web
  17. Member Since
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    Feb 22, 2014, 1:04 AM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #17

    You have found many images that I also found!
    Here is links to few images that I have found useful.
    http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/2...pacesuitKC.jpg
    http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/2...suitegress.jpg

    This image shows left leg best
    http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/6..._1420x1062.jpg

    Helmet images
    jsc2009e240795 - Images - redOrbit

    I have other images too that would be useful to you, but I cant find them from web enymore. I can email them if you want.
  18. Member Since
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    Feb 22, 2014, 8:41 AM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #18

    Finally sleeves are ready. There was more work than I tought, but I am pleased with the results.

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  19. Member Since
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    Feb 24, 2014, 9:06 AM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #19

    After 220 yards of orange sewing tread and lots of hours I have:

    1. Sleeves
    2. All pockets
    3. Strap for keeping gloves (over left knee)
    4. Zipper surroundings

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    Next task will be sewing these on larger parts, before sewing legs or torso together.
  20. chameloon's Avatar
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    Feb 24, 2014, 9:13 AM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #20

    Very nice !
    Did you solve the visor problem?
  21. Member Since
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    Feb 26, 2014, 3:12 AM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #21

    440 yeard of sewing thread gone and suit is starting to get its shape.

    There has been lots of tricky points that I will share later. I have learned lot and making has been fun.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  22. littlemisterbig's Avatar
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    Mar 9, 2014, 12:40 AM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #22

    Where did you get those glove rings?
  23. Yellowjacket's Avatar
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    Mar 9, 2014, 1:03 AM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #23

    Great build! Really coming off well.
  24. Member Since
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    Mar 10, 2014, 11:38 AM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #24

    Sorry, I hadnt noticed that there has been guestions.

    Glove rings are just ordinary steel flanges (used in sewage) and over them is steel duct piece.
    This combination looks very functional, but is not 100% realistic.
  25. Member Since
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    Mar 20, 2014, 4:14 PM - Re: STS-135 Space shuttle Atlantis astronaut ACES suit WIP #25

    I have had several hardship with this project since last post. I had to search new mdf ring maker (first one was too busy now) and sixt company/person was first one who agreed to make neck ring base. Getting visors done seem to become a nightmare too. Company who agreed to make these in first place, cant or wont make visors. Another companies wont do single items or would charge ridiculous sum (even if molds are ready!). I am in big trouble, If I wont find experienced hobbyist or completely new company who would make visors. Last option would be building my own vacuum former. The problem is that I have only 5 weeks left


    Helmet looks like this now. Next I will start to built visor molds.

    Click image for larger version. 

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