Aviation pioneer Wiley Post needed an oxygenated pressure suit to survive a high-altitude transcontinental flight. Enter engineer Russell Colley - who sews together the material for the suit on his wife's sewing machine.
The origins of the space suit began nearly a century ago when engineer Russell Colley designed a pressurized suit that allowed aviator Wiley Post to soar at 50,000 feet. Colley's designs laid the groundwork for many of the space suits astronauts wear today, from the iconic silver outfits that took man to the moon to new, robust suits built for colonization on Mars. Join us as we examine the history of the space suit, told by those who design them, build them, and risk their lives to wear them at the highest frontier of human exploration.
Now, you can watch Smithsonian Channel's incredible documentaries and shows anytime you want by purchasing from any of these distributors:
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel on air.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.