A Space Suit Ahead of Its Time

Bill Elkins demonstrates the mobility of the EX-1A, which he developed at AiResearch in the late 1960s. It was the first suit to use his patented toroidal joints, and was the most mobile suit that had been created at that time. (Most of the motions in this video would not have been possible in the Apollo suit.) The EX-1A (which on the moon would have been covered with a cloth material) is pressurized 35 percent higher than the Apollo suits. Those suits required considerable effort to move, and had pneumatic spring forces that rebounded to the neutral position. By contrast, the EX-1A joints were very low-torque and came much closer to mimicking the full mobility of the human body. Video: Courtesy Bill Elkins (4:20)

Latest Videos

Preview thumbnail for video'This Apollo 8 astronaut took the famous
This Apollo 8 astronaut took the famous "Earthrise" photograph (2:43)
Preview thumbnail for video'This sailor got sucked inside a jet engine.
This sailor got sucked inside a jet engine. (1:54)
Preview thumbnail for video'The most beautiful view of South Africa's Tswaing crater
The most beautiful view of South Africa's Tswaing crater (2:25)
Preview thumbnail for video'This veteran's suggestion made filming World War II easier
This veteran's suggestion made filming World War II easier (2:11)
Preview thumbnail for video'Is this scene from
Is this scene from "Die Hard" really possible? (2:19)
Preview thumbnail for video'We're all made of stardust. Here's how.
We're all made of stardust. Here's how. (3:29)
Preview thumbnail for video'Richard Branson speaks on plan for space tourism
Richard Branson speaks on plan for space tourism (2:45)
Preview thumbnail for video'Inside look at Elon Musk-funded Mars Simulation Project
Inside look at Elon Musk-funded Mars Simulation Project (2:42)
Preview thumbnail for video'Photographer witnesses final moments before plane crash
Photographer witnesses final moments before plane crash (3:19)