Watching TV streams of NASA spacewalks I note that at least one extra crew member helps two spacewalkers before their excursion and after it.

Can modern EVA spacesuit be put on/taken off by single person, without help?

There is no examples in history of a single person spaceflight with spacewalk. It can be explained by safety reasons. But is it technically possible?

Spacewalks in russian Orlan spacesuits were many times conducted without third crew member, with only two persons in space station. But I didn't see that for modern NASA's EMU suits. EMU are some more complex (have SAFER unit). So, my additional subquestions:

-Can EMU suits be put on/off by only two spacewalkers, without third member?

-Can a spacewalker put on spacesuit's gloves himself? (I suppose yes)

I think there are some EMU manuals in public access online, but I can't find them...


Found the manuals, added to ansver

  • $\begingroup$ Is there any modern EVA spacesuit with a design not older than a decade? But Apollo Spacesuit were put on and off by only two moonwalkers, without a third member. The design of these suits is a little bit aged, more than five decades. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    May 30, 2018 at 18:42
  • $\begingroup$ I wouldn't be surprised if Orlan could be donned by one person. They seem to be more simple than the western counterparts, often using large rigid shells in places where EMU use just small rigid rings mounted in flexible fabric that need to be held in place with aid of a second person to latch with other parts. $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    May 30, 2018 at 18:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Uwe - yes, I forgot to mention it. I'd say lunar spacesuits had many differences with today's EMU. But it's interesting to me too - could lunar suit be taken on by single person? $\endgroup$
    – Heopps
    May 30, 2018 at 19:02
  • $\begingroup$ Is there any EMU suit of today? The Constellation Space Suit was announced in 2008 but never used in space. The suit used from the Shuttle and the ISS was introduced in 1981. The first spacewalk in an Orlan suit was done 1977. Anything of this century that was used in space? $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    May 30, 2018 at 19:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Possibly the Chinese suit? Although odds are high that it's derived from Russian technology. $\endgroup$ May 30, 2018 at 23:01

2 Answers 2


I've been searching for the same information and came across an MIT paper - "Mulitdisciplinary Spacesuit Modeling and Optimiztion:..." On page 56 it discusses donning the Orlan and EMU spacesuits:

"To don the EMU, a crewmember first puts on the pants, then slides into the upper torso, and attaches the gloves and helmet. This donning process cannot be completed without the help of another crewmember. Although the Orlan cannot accommodate the same range of sizes as can the EMU, its garment is essentially integrated: the helmet, upper torso, and lower torso are permanently attached. To don the Orlan, a crewmember slides through a hatch at the back and is able to put on the spacesuit unassisted. The origin of this self- donning philosophy can be traced to the original Orlan suit, which was designed for use by the lone crewmember orbiting the Moon when the other two cosmonauts were on the lunar surface. The suit therefore had to be self-donning."

  • $\begingroup$ Great answer and reference! $\endgroup$ Jan 28, 2019 at 2:27

I found this for Orlan spacesuit (in Russian):


There is stated that Orlan was designed to be put on without help. (самостоятельное надевание-снятие - unassisted putting on/off)

Also in russian - some details of last modification of Orlan-MKS with nice photos:


What about EMU? Russian sites state that it can't be put on unassisted.


In this excellent ansver by Mark Omo What's the normal leakage rate for a space suit?

there is a lot of interesting info about EMU in two pdf manuals. But I can't find there answer on my question - does EMU needs an assistanse to put it on/off?


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