Tyler Junior College

Space suit exhibit opens Aug. 25 at science center

Published Wednesday, 15th August 2012

Suited for Space, a new exhibition from the Smithsonian, opens Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Center for Earth & Space Science Center.

To live, travel and explore beyond the bonds of Earth, one must have the proper attire.

Suited for Space, a new exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, opens Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Center for Earth & Space Science Education at Tyler Junior College.

The exhibit, which explores the evolution of space suit development from the early 20th century until the dawn of the shuttle era, features large-scale photographs of suits worn by astronauts from Project Mercury through the Skylab program, as well as suits used in testing and training.

Heather Paul, a NASA Johnson Space Center engineer for future space suits, will speak at the exhibit opening 5:30-7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25. The event will include Paul’s program, admission to the Suited for Space exhibit, the center’s new dome-theater film "Astronaut," and refreshments. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance online at www.tjc.edu/cesse.

Paul’s engineering career at Johnson Space Center has included developing life support designs for next-generation space suits and systems to circulate oxygen for breathing and space suit pressurization and hardware that will control carbon dioxide and humidity levels in the suit environment.

TJC is the only Texas stop for the Suited for Space exhibition. Following its Nov. 18 closing, it will then head to Massachusetts from December to March, then head to the National Museum of Air and Space in Washington, D.C.

Smithsonian photographer Mark Avino took the photographs featured in Suited for Space. In addition, Avino helped produce X-ray images that provide a unique view of the interiors of the space suits. While the fragility of these space suits prevents them from traveling, the exhibition will feature a replica Apollo space suit on loan from NASA and 10 objects from the National Air and Space Museum’s collection, including a glove, a boot and helmets. Avino’s photographs provide a visual timeline of the space suits’ development over the years.

Paul’s appearance and the Suited for Space exhibit are being held in conjunction with the premiere of the science center’s latest dome-theater show, "Astronaut."

Narrated by actor Ewan McGregor (who was featured in the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy and "Moulin Rouge"), "Astronaut" takes viewers on a 30-minute journey through inner and outer space to witness a rocket launch from inside the body of an astronaut and see the effects of floating around the International Space Station.

For more information on these and other events at the Center for Earth & Space Science Education at TJC, please go to www.tjc.edu/cesse or call 903-510-2312.

Elise Mullinix

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