An Apollo astronaut got three space suits, one for training on Earth, one for flight and one as backup.

James A. Lovell did fly on Apollo 8 as Command Module pilot and on Apollo 13 as Mission commander. As CM pilot he needed an intravehicular suit and as commander an extravehicular suit. An intravehicular suit had only one set of gas connectors, an extravehicular suit had two sets.

So did they build three intravehicular suits and another three extravehicular suits for James A. Lovell?

Same situation with David Scott on Apollo 9 and 15 as well as John W. Young on Apollo 10 and 16.

Gene Cernan flew Apollo 10 as Lunar Module pilot and Apollo 17 as commander, so he needed extravehicular suits only. Were some of the suits for Apollo 10 reused for Apollo 17? But Apollo 7-14 and 15-17 used different suit versions.

See the related question.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Same with Gene Cernan, no? He was on Apollo 10 and 17. And David Scott. He was on Apollo 9 and 15. $\endgroup$ – Star Man Mar 28 '20 at 19:59

The serial numbers of the Apollo spacesuits are documented on this NASA webpage.

Each astronaut was assigned three suits for a particular mission: a Flight Suit, worn only during the mission; a Back-Up Suit; and a Training Suit. Some suits did double duty, most usually when an astronaut moved from a Back-Up crew to Primary crew for a later mission. The serial numbers of such re-used suits are highlighted in color, with a unique color for each suit that was used more than once. Usually, a suit that had been a Flight Suit for a Back-Up crew member became his Training Suit upon assignment to a subsequent Prime crew. There are exceptions, such as Donn Eisele's Back-Up suit (S/N 011) from his Apollo 7 Prime crew assignment becoming his Flight Suit when he was assigned to the Apollo 10 Back-Up Crew.

Training suits are often not listed earlier in the program. That's when they used A6L models instead of the final A7L model.

Later in the Apollo program -- because of budget cuts -- a lot of used suits were re-used, particularly for training and for backup crew. One suit that had been on the moon (Apollo 15's Scott) and two others that had been in space were actually re-used for training!

Five suits were manufactured for Lovell:

  • Suit 037 was actually flown on Apollo 8.
  • Suit 052 was the backup for that flight.
  • Suit 055 was used to train for Apollo 8.
  • Suit 078 was actually flown on Apollo 13.
  • Suit 074 was the backup suit for that flight, and was also his flight suit when he was on the Apollo 11 backup crew.

Lovell's training suit for Apollo 13 is not given. However, considering how much NASA re-used suits, it would not surprise me if Lovell's Apollo 8 backup and/or training suits were used for this purpose. (They already were fit for him, anyway.)

David Scott had at least 5 suits. His training suit for his earlier mission is not given; he may have used an A6L model for that instead of an A7L. As previously noted, the suit that he walked in on the moon was later re-used for training.

Gene Cernan had four suits: his flight and backup suits for his two flights. No training suit is listed for Apollo 10 (probably an A6L). He used Scott's been-on-the-moon suit to train for Apollo 17.

John Young had at least seven suits. Two were flight and backup for Apollo 10; no training suit was given. Two more were flight suits on the backup crews for Apollo 7 and 13. Three new suits were manufactured for Apollo 16; the unused suits from that flight became his flight and backup suits on the backup crew for Apollo 17.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Great reference! $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Mar 28 '20 at 22:19
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble: Found it when trying to find the stowage lists for Apollo 8. $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon Mar 28 '20 at 22:33
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Suit 015 was used as flight suit for Apollo 9 LMP Schweickart and as training suit for Apollo 14 backup astronaut Engle. Engle's flight suit was used by Evans for training. Three astronauts wearing the same suit size. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Mar 28 '20 at 22:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Ah, I missed him in the 13 backup crew. Add in his Gemini and Shuttle flights, he probably has some kind of record for spacesuits. He was legendary. $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon Mar 28 '20 at 23:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Searching the Smithsonian collection, I found three Gemini suits of John Young, a training suit and two flight suits for Gemini 3 and 10. For the Shuttle was there a training and a flight suit too? $\endgroup$ – Uwe Mar 28 '20 at 23:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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