Shaping The Future Of Human Spaceflight: UTC Aerospace Systems Celebrates 200th Spacewalk At International Space Station

Colorado astronaut Jack Fischer waves while attached to the Destiny laboratory during a spacewalk. Image Credit: NASA/ESA

June 21, 2017 – On May 12, NASA Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer participated in a milestone event—the 200th spacewalk at the International Space Station (ISS). The space suit they wore for the walk was the same design worn by U.S. astronauts for a total of 151 spacewalks in support of ISS assembly and maintenance—the UTC Aerospace Systems Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU). For Whitson, the May 12 spacewalk was her ninth, the most ever by a female astronaut.

UTC Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp., has a rich history of enabling life in space, dating back to America’s first human spaceflight program, Project Mercury, which began in 1958. The company supplied space suit soft goods and helmets for Project Mercury, and has provided space suit system hardware for every major NASA program since Project Gemini—NASA’s second human spaceflight program, which began in 1961.

“For more than half a century, UTC Aerospace Systems has provided critical life support technologies to help mankind explore the cosmos,” said Gail Baker, Senior Vice President, ISR and Space Systems. “From John Glenn’s first orbit of the Earth, to Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, to the 200th spacewalk at the International Space Station, we were there to help make the missions possible and keep the crew safe. In the years to come, we look forward to continuing to build on our reputation for reliability and to shaping the future of human spaceflight.”

Originally designed to support two-week shuttle missions and then return to earth, EMUs now remain on orbit for approximately six years.To help ensure astronauts are comfortable and can perform effectively in the harsh environment of space, the EMU provides:

  • Oxygen for breathing

  • Carbon dioxide removal

  • Thermal control

  • Power for electronics, including suit health monitoring and two-way communications

  • UTC Aerospace Systems has worked side-by-side with NASA to evolve, upgrade and recertify the equipment to support extended periods of operation. The UTC Aerospace Systems team is also closely involved with suit performance monitoring, maintenance and engineering training programs, with employees on-site at NASA mission control for every spacewalk.