SpaceRace Logo National Air and Space Museum logo
Racing to the Moon

Space Race Home
Military Origins
Racing to the Moon
Satellite Reconnaissance
A Permanent Presence

Previous pageNext page
The Race Begins
Competitors in the Race
Vostok and Voskhod
Mercury and Gemini
Space Suits
A Soviet Moonshot?
Apollo Lunar Suit
The Moon Rocket Challenge
The Moon Race Ends



Yuri Gagarin wore this SK-1 pressure suit during training exercises for his April 12, 1961, flight on Vostok. Notable features include a visored helmet that is not detachable from the suit; the inflatable rubber collar for use in the event of water landing; the bright orange nylon oversuit, which has a mirror sewn into the sleeve to help the cosmonaut locate hard-to-see switches and gauges; and the gray-checked pressure liner with connectors for life-support and communications hoses. The suit also has leather-palm gloves, heavy leather boots, and a leather-covered radio headset.

Manufacturer: Zvezda

Lent by Emmet, Toni, and Tessa Stephenson

SK-1 pressure suit
84 k jpeg
SI#: 97-15263


Feoktistov's draft checklist for the first man in space instructs Gagarin to follow certain procedures before launch, in orbit, and during descent. This is a copy made from the original manuscript.

Courtesy of the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museums

page from flight plan
172 k jpeg


John Glenn wore this space suit on February 20, 1962, when he became the first American to orbit the Earth. Like the Gagarin suit, its design was adapted from high-altitude pressure suits worn by aircraft pilots. Glenn's suit was a lightweight multi-layered garment with an aluminized nylon cover layer. Thirteen zippers, plus custom-fitted gloves, boots, and helmet, assured a snug fit.

Manufacturer: B.F. Goodrich Co.

Transferred from NASA

Glenn's flight suit
93 k jpeg
SI#: 97-16254

Mercury and Gemini Previous page Next page A Soviet Moonshot
Space Race > Racing to the Moon > Space Suits >> A Soviet Moonshot?

Space Race Home
Introduction | Military Origins | Racing To the Moon | Satellite Reconnaissance | Permanent Presence | Illustrations