Space Garments


In human space, the term "space garments" covers a wide variety of clothing and equipment that isn't limited to space apparatuses per se but covers a wide array of equipment that can protect their wearers in dangerous environments, including deep space.

1 - Voidsuits

Voidsuits are the most protective kind of space garments, used for extra-vehicular activities and operations in atmosphere-less planetary environments. The distant cousins of industrial-era space suits, they are semi-rigid clothes with a three-layered structure. The first layer is made of a temperature management system, the second layer is a pressure regulating undergarment while the third layer offers protection against radiation and micrometeorite impacts. A voidsuit is often worn with regular clothing underneath, though a haptic "skinsuit" can also be used. Voidsuits have their own environmental control systems offering several days of oxygen generation, recycling and basic sustenance. When used for extra-vehicular activities, voidsuits are paired with small RCS modules offering all-aspect mobility in zero-g.

Most communes locally source their voidsuits, which are relatively expensive to build even if they aren't technologically complex. Their software is often based on a public domain OS, Sybil, which provides a zero-g navigation UI and is compatible with virtually all remote communication and control networks.

2 - Exosuits

Exosuits are a natural development of Low Age environmental suits used in the reclamation zones of European, Asian and North American ruins. They are meant to be used in pressurized environments where unassisted breathing is impossible, hard or merely ill-advised. Their main function is to isolate their wearer from their environment and vice-versa. Though exosuits are not necessarily sealed, they provide extensive filtering of incoming cosmic rays, radiations, atmospheric contaminants and gaseous compounds. When used in a breathable atmosphere they trade closed-cycle environmental systems for rebreathers and oxygen extractors. Wet exosuits sometimes include artificial gills and double as diving suits in low-pressure environments. On high-gravity planets, exosuits may be equipped with artificial muscle nodes providing exoskeleton-like strength demultiplication.

Exosuits are modular. They include skin-tight undergarments with haptic controls and health monitoring systems, then a two-part suit used for temperature regulation and finally an outer suit with the protective and environmental control layers. Lighter exosuits only require the last layer which is worn like a jacket or a flight suit; they are often hard to distinguish from regular clothes.

It is not rare to find exosuits used in non-hostile conditions by communes that don't want to or can't manufacture dedicated equipment. In this case, they are often stripped down, with individual layers being integrated in regular clothes. For instance, the temperature regulation layer can be used by field workers, while the haptic controls are sewn in pilot jackets. 

3 - Flight suits

"Flight suit" is a bit of a generic term encompassing the specific pieces of clothing worn by space pilots and navigators. They take the shape of single-layered, full-body suits worn over undergarments or civilian clothes. They have three main functions. The first one is to act as high-g suits, preventing blackouts by controlling skin-level blood pressure and, if need be, injecting anti-stroke drugs. The second one is to provide all-body haptic feedback, translating technical data into sensory pings, enabling navigators to "feel" their ships and its surroundings in real-time. The third one is to enable a limited degree of active temperature regulation through artificial veins filled with heat carrier fluids. It is mostly geared towards cooling, as modern spaceships can get quite hot under thrust. In case of hull rupture, flight suits paired with rebreathers can keep their wearer safe and sound for up to six hours.

There are two distinct fashion schools when it comes to flight suits. Navigators that follow the "quiet worker" ethos pioneered by qith Saïmour like to wear their flight suits "as is", with minimal ornamentation aside from colour-coded insignias. Other, more flamboyant pilots like to adorn their suits in a way that makes them look like old-fashioned flight jackets.

Flight suits are at the bottom of the manufacturing chain of space garments and often made from recycled voidsuits or exosuits.

Illustrations: standard license Shutterstock art/Creative Commons Symbiosis Artbook/Public domain USAF.

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