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Are astronauts allowed to wear their eyeglasses inside their helmets during launches and landings?? Are there any special considerations or rules?

During spaceflight (launches and landings) there can be a lot of vibrations that could knock eyeglasses off of an astronaut's nose. If contained inside a helmet, it may be difficult to put them back on straight. Improperly positioned might seriously obstruct vision, produce distracting pain, or even pose a potential risk of injury.

I noticed in the photos below that while both astronauts Donald Pettit and Andre Kuipers were wearing glasses while seated in the re-entry vehicle before closing the hatch, only one of them appeared to be wearing glasses upon re-entry, landing, and being removed from the capsule. *Did Astronaut Kuipers' glasses fall off, or did Astronaut Pettit remove his glasses just before descent?


Can eyeglasses just come from the local optician, or are special space-rated astronaut frames and/or lenses required?

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above: Astronauts Donald Pettit, Oleg Kononenko and Andre Kuipers preparing to return to Earth. From NASA Letters to Earth June 17-26 – Diary of a Space Zucchini. If you right-click and open in a separate window for a larger view you can see that two of the three are wearing eyeglasses.

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above x2: Astronaut Pettit seems to have his eyeglasses still on after re-entry and landing. From The Daily Mail.

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above: However, astronaut Kuipers does not seem to be wearing his eyeglasses after re-entry and landing. From The Daily Mail.

below x2: Astronaut Pettit wearing his eyeglasses during his daily, routine activities on board the ISS. Top: Self Portrait, from Popular Science. Credit Don Pettit/NASA, Bottom: From NASA Letters to Earth Lost Chopstick.

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below: Astronaut Pettit in 2002 on STS-113, wearing a substantially different style of eyeglasses with much larger frames. From STS-113 Shuttle Mission Imagery (ISS006-E-05004).

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting question. Perhaps a simple lanyard attached to the ear-loop things might be enough to hold them in place. $\endgroup$ – Steve May 12 '17 at 12:11
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    $\begingroup$ @Steve perhaps indeed. I'm wondering if it would have to be tested under real, maximum acceleration and vibration conditions and formally approved? Those glasses look very light-weight, and could themselves also break, or pushed to the side if the astronaut's head hits the inside of the helmet. It's improbable, but is improbable enough? Also, I'm still not sure if glasses were actually worn during the return trip, or if they were removed just before, and put back on after landing. $\endgroup$ – uhoh May 12 '17 at 14:36
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    $\begingroup$ It wouldn't surprise me if NASA had special glasses made. The lenses in the glasses I am wearing right now came from NASA, so its reasonable to assume they have the facility to make custom lenses and frames especially for use to, from, and in space. $\endgroup$ – Cody May 12 '17 at 18:22
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For shuttle, the answer was yes, they could be worn during ascent and entry.

There are many photographs showing this. Here is Canadian Mission Specialist Julie Payette wearing her glasses whilst suited for ascent on the flightdeck for the STS-127 mission. This picture was taken very shortly after Main Engine Cutoff; the crew is still strapped in. For a time hack, you can see that Payette is holding the ascent checklist open to the Post OMS 1 pages.

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Picture from here.

The in-cockpit video taken just prior to destruction of the orbiter Columbia during entry shows MS-4/David Brown wearing his glasses. The video is not very high quality but there is a fairly clear shot at time 12:11.

As far as your other questions embedded in the main question, they had to pass the same safety and materials checks as anything else carried in the crew compartment. I do not believe the eyewear is provided by NASA but I am not sure on that point.

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    $\begingroup$ I eventually found one i.stack.imgur.com/cXIcg.jpg which came from here. $\endgroup$ – uhoh May 13 '17 at 0:56
  • $\begingroup$ video is no longer available (to me at least) $\endgroup$ – uhoh Mar 7 at 6:03

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