What are these shiny wrist plates worn by astronauts in the SpaceX crew capsule?

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screen shot from the NASA YouTube video Watch NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 Mission Arrive at the International Space Station


1 Answer 1


These are mirrors. Even SpaceX's slick spacesuits have limited mobility, especially when the astronauts are strapped into the seats. The mirrors allow them to see corners of the spacecraft that they can't otherwise see because the helmet is in the way, they can't turn their head, they can't leave the seat, or similar.

For example, if you try to look up, there is only so far that the helmet will move until you are simply either looking at the inside of the helmet or the helmet is blocking your movement. If you have watched the Demo-2 or Crew-1 launches, you will have seen the astronauts sort-of lean back as they try to look up the rocket. Similarly, as they are talking to people, you can see them somewhat awkwardly turning their entire torso instead of just the head. They obviously can't do either of those when strapped into the seats.

Example of limited mobility from the official SpaceX stream of the Crew-1 launch (click for source video):SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts leaning back to look up Dragon capsule on top of Falcon 9 stack from ground level

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting, Shuttle and ISS EMU suits have wrist mirrors but I've never seen one on an IVA suit. space.stackexchange.com/a/10475/6944 $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 14:30
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    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble They were offered to individual crewmembers as an option back in the Shuttle days for ascents and entries. Turns out I prolly could have used one during the STS-109 entry... $\endgroup$
    – Digger
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 21:43
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for including a photo. That's a spectacular good way to illustrate the issue. Big thumbs up! $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 18:21
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    $\begingroup$ @user2705196: If you click on it, I actually link that very moment in the video ;-) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 18:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Digger Crazy to run across actual astronauts here. Thanks for keeping Hubble up & thank you for your service! $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 19:23

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