Known as the “pumpkin suit,” the Launch and Entry Suit (LES) was worn by all space shuttle crews from STS-26 in 1988 through STS-64 in 1994.
The LES was first worn by U.S. Air Force pilots in the mid-1970’s, replacing the escape suit used from STS-1 through STS-4. It was also identical to the suits worn by Gemini astronauts.
Unlike the fully pressurized Advanced Crew Escape Suits (ACES), the LES was only partially pressurized, thus requiring a rubber diaphragm around the wearer’s face. With the development of the space shuttle, NASA redesigned the suits with a parachute harness and inflatable bladders in the legs to prevent the crew from passing out during reentry.
The suit features a one-piece torso-limb suit with a Nomex outer layer, closed with a rear-entry zipper and featuring a full-pressure helmet with a polycarbonate faceplate, mechanical seal, black sunshade, zippered-on gloves, black safety boots and a survival backpack.
See the Launch Entry Suit inside Starship Gallery at Space Center Houston.