One of the signs displayed with the suit. The sign reads
SK-1 Space Suit
The First Space Suit
Vostok 1 lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 12, 1961, with Yuri
Gagarin on board. The pioneering cosmonaut wore a protective SK-1 space suit
similar to the one displayed here. This suit, used for training Vostok
cosmonauts, was very likely worn by Gagarin as he trained for his historic
voyage into space.
The 51-pound SK-1 suit was built up of layers with different purposes. The
orange outer layer made it easy for recovery helicopters to spot the cosmonaut
on the ground. Other layers prevented chafing and provided ducts for air
circulation. Four layers would keep the cosmonaut warm and dry if he splashed
down in icy water. A flotation collar would then inflate to keep him afloat
until help arrived. The SK-1 helmet visor shut automatically for launch,
reentry, and in case the Vostok capsule lost pressure. Pockets held a pistol,
a knife, a radio, and shark repellent.