The Launch Entry Suit and Advanced Crew Escape Suit were the intravehicular suits used on most Space Shuttle missions. ACES was an improved version of the LES, and both earned the nickname "pumpkin suit" by their orange color.

Are there any features intrinsic to these suits that can be used to quickly distinguish between the two types of suits in photographs?

Identifying the crewmember, mission patch, or insignia might be a strategy, but is not what I am asking about.


1 Answer 1


From eyeballing a few images, something that pops out are the wrist gaskets.

From the ACES wikipedia page:

The ACES incorporates gloves on disconnecting lock rings on the wrists, liquid cooling and improved ventilation, and an extra layer of insulation.


The gloves are also attached via a locking ring and are likewise in international orange color. These can be put on more easily and more quickly than was possible with the launch entry suit, and ball bearings allow the wrist to "swivel". When the suit is pressurized, the gloves are also pressurized.

Here are a pair of ACES paws from an STS-135 training photo: CES wrist detail

And the hands of Amber Gell:

Amber Gell ACES hand details

The gaskets are still visible with the gloves off, at least in some shots:

ACES gasket with gloves off

And for comparison, here are regular LES hands, apparently modelled by a technician:

LES wrist detail

and some worn by David Walker:

David Walker LES hand details

And with the gloves off:

LES wrist details with gloves off


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