Mental Floss

Watch Chris Hadfield Explain the Sokol Space Suit

Chris Higgins
Getty Images
Getty Images / Getty Images

In this Canadian Space Agency video, astronaut Chris Hadfield explains the Sokol ("Falcon") suit. It's a Russian design first introduced in 1974, and differs from NASA suits. It's a "rescue suit," meaning that it's intended to keep astronauts (okay, cosmonauts) alive in the event of accidental depressurization within a spacecraft—it's not intended for spacewalks.

Have a look at this brief video:

Now, you might want to compare that with a NASA EVA suit (see the video at How Astronauts Put on Space Suits). While this is a bit of an apples-and-oranges comparison, it's worth seeing how much easier it is to get into the Sokol suit. This makes sense, given that you're supposed to wear the thing inside a spacecraft, and it's not bulked up with all that EVA stuff.

Finally, let's dig into this delightful little documentary on Chris Hadfield's training in Russia. We see various aspects of the Russian space program, including Hadfield learning to speak Russian and operate consoles labeled only in Russian. Commander Hadfield is truly a steely-eyed missile man.