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Dressing for Altitude

16 April 2016

Dressing for Altitude: U.S. Aviation Pressure Suits—Wiley Post to Space Shuttle, Dennis R. Jenkins, 2012, ISBN 978-0-16-090110-2, 526 pp.

Dressing for Altitude: U.S. Aviation Pressure Suits—Wiley Post to Space Shuttle by Dennis R. Jenkins

Dressing for Altitude: U.S. Aviation Pressure Suits—Wiley Post to Space Shuttle by Dennis R. Jenkins

This book enlightens the reader in regard to partial versus full pressure suits, the heroic piloting of Cold War U-2 pilots flying in partial pressure suits for hours though they were meant for minutes, and the David Clark Company which has been supremely instrumental in development as well as manufacture of these suits. The evolution of these suits parallel the U-2, SR-71 and Space Shuttle programs—indeed, one could not have happened without the other.

Dressing for Altitude is an intriguing epic of design, altitude pioneers, Cold War missions and exploration. The physiology of high altitude flight is clearly explained such as the demand to force oxygen into the body and the prevention of blood boiling above the Armstrong Line. All is beautifully as well as thoroughly explained by Jenkins.

Beginning with the ancient Greeks the story contains full context so the reader intimately understands the process, thinking and results of the many remarkable developments regarding pressure suits—as well as the advancements made possible by them.

Images of early pressure suits look like they are from the Flash Gordon Era, as they were, and are on-point. Photographs and drawings are plentiful throughout this publication and greatly help it to meet high production standards.

Dressing for Altitude takes readers from early deep diving based dry suits through suits intended for minutes worth of use as heavy bombers entered combat zones to Cold War extreme altitudes and present day high-G maneuvering in the vertical.

Download if for free as a PDF here at this NASA site—the book is authoritative and gorgeous—welcome in any library.

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