Valsalva Device


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

This is a Valsalva device that allows astronauts to equalize the pressure in their ears by performing the Valsalva maneuver inside the suit without using their hands to block their nose. The Valsalva maneuver is achieved by making a moderately forceful attempted exhalation against a closed airway, usually done by closing one's mouth, pinching one's nose shut while pressing out as if blowing up a balloon. It is a spongy device that attaches to the bottom of the helmet that can block the nose in case a pressure readjustment is needed. Because astronauts reuse the helmets, the device is changed for each spacewalk.

This object is part of the Space Suit Assembly Extravehicular Mobility Unit (SSA EMU), which is the spacesuit and primary life support system that astronauts wear when performing spacewalks from the American port on the International Space Station. The spacesuit is designed to be reusable and adjustable with interchangeable parts to fit a wide range of astronauts. A version of the EMU has been in use since 1983 on board the American space shuttles. Over the decades, individual components of the suit have been modified and upgraded to improve astronaut comfort, mobility and safety.

ILC Dover, the company that is the primary contractor for the SSA, transferred this item along with a large collection of other components of the spacesuit to the museum in 2013. Each item was used in testing or fabricated as part of new design efforts and bears the clear markings in red as "scrap" or lines through the label. ILC used these markings to assure that the objects would never be reused in testing or flight.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


Credit Line

Transferred from ILC Dover


  • Synthetic
  • Paper
  • Coating


3-D: 6.7 × 2.5 × 1.9cm (2 5/8 × 1 × 3/4 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America


PERSONAL EQUIPMENT-Pressure Suits-Parts & Structural Components

Inventory Number