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Sign accompanying the replica Mercury suit. It reads

Mercury Spacesuit

This is a reproduction of the original suit worn by John H. Glenn, Jr. during his historic Friendship 7 mission of February 20, 1962.

The original spacesuit consisted of an inner layer of neoprene-coated nylon and a restraint outer layer of aluminized nylon to reflect heat. This reproduction uses a vinyl-coated cotton weave as an outer layer.

The Mercury spacesuit was a modified version of a high-altitude aircraft pressure suit. Joint mobility at the elbows and knees was difficult against the force of a pressurized suit. As an elbow or knee joint was bent, the suit joints folded in on themselves reducing suit internal volume and increasing pressure. However, limited pressurized mobility would have been a minor inconvenience in the small Mercury spacecraft cabin.

The Mercury spacecraft cabin was designed to maintain a constant pressure so the spacesuit was worn "soft" or unpressurized in the cabin and served only as a backup for possible spacecraft cabin pressure loss -- an event that never happened.

Sign accompanying the Mercury spacesuit replica in Glenn Research Center visitor center lobby.
Time picture taken Sun Aug 23 13:14:28 2009
Location picture taken Exhibit Galleries
Glenn Research Center
Cleveland, Ohio
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