Collection Item Summary:
On October 24, 2014, Dr. Alan Eustace used a state-of-the-art Pressure Suit Assembly to ascend to the top of the stratosphere beneath a large, helium-filled plastic balloon and sky dive back to Earth. He reached a maximum altitude of 135,889 feet before parachuting back to Earth, breaking the previous world record. He accomplished this mission by using a pressure suit alone for life support and foregoing the weight of a balloon gondola to ascend to the stratosphere.
His spacesuit, made by ILC Dover in Houston, resembles those worn by Apollo astronauts and those performing spacewalks from the International Space Station. The suit includes a Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment, used to keep its wearer safe from extreme temperature differences, radiation, and particles in space. It also includes a liquid temperature-regulating garment to maintain his body temperature. Because this suit was designed to replace a balloon gondola, all sensors, monitors and communications devices had to be mounted on the suit.
This is the left of the pressure gloves that Eustace wore during his flight. This glove is a combination of off-the-shelf technology and the state of the art in pressure and spacesuit gloves. The wrist connect has a complicated lock that while difficult to get on and off, precluded the possibility that a glove might come loose while traveling faster than the speed of sound. At the base of the palm, the pressure glove is mated to a store-purchased heated sky glove that has a batter, heating element and a push-button switch to keep the pilot’s hands warm.
The Eustace-Kwan family donated this suit to the museum in 2015.