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Multi-layered & functional: Methods to preserve space suits

Edited by

  • Dr. Charlotte Holzer

    Wissenschaftliche MitarbeiterinObjekt- und Restaurierungsforschung und Ausstellungsprojekt Schiffe und Meer

  • Dr. Marisa Pamplona Bartsch

    Leitung Abteilung Objekt- und Restaurierungsforschung

  • Dr. Robert Kluge

    Kurator für Luftfahrt nach 1945Abteilung Luftfahrt

Project description

The shelf life of spacesuits is limited to a few months to years, depending on the application and maintenance requirements. In the museum, on the other hand, exhibits should be preserved for several generations in order to learn about them and the people of the past. In 2018/19, aging phenomena in the material of the Russian pressure suit Sokol-KV-2 and damage caused by external influences were analysed. Now it is a matter of implementing and monitoring the recommended measures for preventive conservation.

Preserving objects in the exhibition

Damage factors for space and pilot suits are light, humidity, increased temperature and pollutants from synthetic material in the exhibits or the showcase. The space exhibition is designed as a dark room without daylight, and the spectrum of LED lights does not contain any UV. The showcase for the suits is conditioned to a relative humidity of 30–40% by means of passive air conditioning and the temperature is regulated via the exhibition space. Fans ensure air circulation in the showcase so that potentially polluted air flows over activated carbon fabric in the air-conditioning compartments. Unsuitable materials for the figures are replaced by new ones and their posture is improved in the process.Damage factors for space and pilot suits are light, humidity, increased temperature and pollutants from synthetic material in the exhibits or the showcase. The space exhibition is designed as a dark room without daylight, and the spectrum of LED lights does not contain any UV. The showcase for the suits is conditioned to a relative humidity of 30–40% by means of passive air conditioning and the temperature is regulated via the exhibition space. Fans ensure air circulation in the showcase so that potentially polluted air flows over activated carbon fabric in the air-conditioning compartments. Unsuitable materials for the figures are replaced by new ones and their posture is improved in the process.

Methods for reviewing the measures

When illuminating, conservators use a lux meter to check the recommended 50 lx light intensity. The constant recording of climate data and pollutant gas monitoring are the basis for decision-making for further improving the exhibition showcase. Changes to the exhibits are documented by means of photography as well as colour measurement and the airtightness of the showcase is assessed.

Events

Lectures

  • Charlotte Holzer, Der Sokol-KV-2-Raumanzug von Klaus-Dietrich Flade. Konservatorische Empfehlungen zur Ausstellung „Raumfahrt“, Arbeitskreis Forschung, Deutsches Museum, München, 25. Juni 2019 

Publications

  • Charlotte Holzer, Marisa Pamplona, Anna Micheluz, Poster: Why does it change its color? Damage analysis on a Russian spacesuit Sokol KV-2, Future Talks 2019, Neue Sammlung, München 11. November 2019 

Current

Cooperation partners

[Translate to English:]

  • National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
  • Lehrstuhl für zerstörungsfreie Prüfung, Technische Universität München
  • Fraunhofer-Entwicklungszentrum Röntgentechnik

Other research projects