The Orlan space suits are semi rigid with a solid torso and flexible arms and legs. They (the previous models) have been used for space walks in Earth orbit with success from 1985 until now.

Their legs may be moved a little in zero gravity, but would it be possible to walk with them on the moon for some hours? The mobility of the hip joints seems to be very limited as they are within the rigid part of the suit. If the wearer may move his thighs only very little, walking will be difficult.

  • $\begingroup$ If a spacewalk would be conducted soon after local sunrize at the Moon - than lunar surface would no be hot. $\endgroup$
    – Heopps
    May 31, 2018 at 10:38

1 Answer 1


It would certainly be possible, the environment of the moon's surface is not that different from orbit, you have the same temperature differences, so an astronaut (more likely cosmonaut) could survive. If you look at the Apollo footage astronauts weren't bending down and walking around, the used tools to reach the surface and hopped around due to the lack of suit mobility.

The Orlan suit is a development from the Kretchet suit, which was developed for the Soviet moon program, and they are extremely similar.

Here's the Ketchet on the left and the Orlan on the right:

Kretchet Space Suit enter image description here

Given the similarity in design it's safe to say the Orlan could be used on the moon.

One big concern would be contact with the lunar surface, you'd need to protect the cosmonaut's feet from sharp rocks and cold from the surface, the Apollo suits had overboots with reinforcing and extra insulation for that purpose. There's no reason you couldn't use the same approach with an Orlan suit, or use the same boots developed for the Kretchet suit.

  • $\begingroup$ The hip joints of the wearer are within the rigid part of the suit. Does this limit the mobility of the tighs too much for real walking? $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    May 31, 2018 at 11:34
  • $\begingroup$ See my edits @Uwe, the Orlan is a direct descendant of the Soviet moon suit. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    May 31, 2018 at 12:18
  • $\begingroup$ Wikipedia says "The original Orlan suit, with a two and a half hour operation time, was designed as an orbital suit for use on the Soviet Lunar programme." The wikipedia article on the Soviet lunar surface suit, the Krechet, does not mention the Orlan as a derivative, and says The Krechet included waist and hip joints which were not present in the Orlan. Reading this I'd conclude today's Orlan is not derived from the Krechet. Do you have more information that can help us resolve the difference between the astronautix and wikipedia articles? $\endgroup$ May 31, 2018 at 23:01
  • $\begingroup$ Here is a picture of the back of an Orlan suit. The hip of the wearer seams to be in the flexible part of the suit, not in the rigid part. If there are complete trousers made of fabric layers, walking should be possible. But the position of the center of gravity of the suit and its wearer should not ly too far backwards. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Jun 1, 2018 at 15:29

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