A spacesuit is all that stands between an astronaut and certain death in the cold void of space, so no wonder some astronauts develop a certain bond of affection with their gear.


Fully suited up for the fit test.

This is European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano at NASA’s Johnson Space Center preparing to for Expedition 36/37 in March 2013. Parmitano is expressing his undying affections for his piece of highly-personalized and essential gear as part of a fit check the Space Station Airlock Test Article. The spacesuit is an Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) spacesuit; Parmitano is hugging the bulky outer component while still wearing the inner thermal undergarment.

Pausing to say hi midway through the spacewalk.

Parmitano went on a spacewalk outside the space station on July 9, 2013, even riding on the Mobile Servicing System. During the spacewalk, Parmitano and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy installed power-cables, retrieved research samples, and performed maintenance. This outing made Parmitano the first Italian spacewalker.


Catching a lift on the Mobile Servicing System while switching a wrench.

The second spacewalk was far less tranquil. His suit fought back, slowly filling his helmet with water. The risk of drowning in space forced him to retreat back into the station early, a trek made all the more difficult by being in the darkness after orbital sunset. This same suit would later go on for a second attempted drowning, this time of NASA astronaut Terry Virts.


Scrubbing the water loop system of the EMU.

Parmitano also wins for best Astronaut Halloween, celebrating by stashing a superman suit amongst his personal allotment for the journey and teasing that he was enacting Lex Luther’s dream.


Top image: European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano gives his spacesuit a quick cuddle on March 4, 2013 during a fit check at Johnson Space Center. Credit: NASA

Contact the author at mika.mckinnon@io9.com or follow her at @MikaMcKinnon.


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