In the video #AskNASA | What are the Next Generation Spacesuits?, spacesuit engineer Dustin Gohmert says the following about the Orion Crew Survival Suit (Orange Spacesuit):

This suit is also designed for contingency operations. If we had an emergency in deep space, the crew could actually survive in this suit and live for up to six days.

Could anyone explain what does the above statement mean? Does contingency operations refer to what to do in case of an accidental depressurization? If yes, how can an astronaut live inside a spacesuit completely for six days? Will there be provisions for water, food and other necessities inside the spacesuit itself?

  • $\begingroup$ And how are pee & poop handled? $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 15:53
  • $\begingroup$ There will be at least a suit port for drinking water and liquid nutrition. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ Are these the space-suits you're referencing? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 16:13
  • $\begingroup$ @CrossRoads for pee & poop Maximum_Absorbency_Garment is used. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 17:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @CrossRoads Kinda depends on the alternative... $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 18:06

1 Answer 1


As noted in the comments, the priority needs for humans are air, water, sensible temperature and food. The survival time without food is weeks

So at first guess the worst case survival plan with the astronauts is to make sure the suit can provide air and water, and adjust the temperature to minimize calorie consumption and then just wait and let body go into survival mode.

Existing suits already provide water from a fixed supply, which might need supplementation either from the cooling loop or dedicated plumbing. ISS suits did included a snack dispenser but it is no longer used due to problems with food fragments getting loose inside the helmet.

It would not be fun for the astronauts, or the people helping get them out of the suits but they should be able to survive (note that with no food in there will be little or no food out). For six days some form of urine extraction might be required to avoid drowning in zero G as absorbent underpants would probably not be sufficient unless water intake was cut to dangerous levels.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.