The orange spacesuit used by Moonbase Alpha resembles the orange Advanced Crew Escape Suit (ACES, also known colloquially as the "pumpkin suit"), a full pressure suit worn by US Space Shuttle crews for the ascent and entry portions of flight since 1988. The same colour will be used on the Constellation spacesuits ready for use after 2015. The colour of the cover material is "international orange" (hex #FF4F00), and is intended to make crew easily seen in the event of bailout in the sea. The same logic would apply to the use of the colour on Moonbase Alpha.
The outer fabric of the pressure garment is orange cotton, ribbed by stitching (there is close ribbing around upper torso to shoulders, middle of arms, and upper legs). Zips are white. The main zips are on the front and on the insides of arms and legs. There are pockets, with zips, on the outside forearm of the right arm (occasionally the left; not on Victor's/Helena's), on the front of upper legs (Koenig's pockets are in a higher position) and on the outside of the left leg below the knee.
The inner lining of the suit is yellow nylon, glimpsed occasionally (The Infernal Machine). The legs have a "metal" ring on the end.
Under the suit, the Alphans normally wear their normal uniforms, but in The Infernal Machine they wear black polo-necks. In early episodes they wear a cloth balaclava under their helmets, probably racing or motor-cycle balaclavas which are fire-retardant.
A chest pack and a back pack are worn in space, secured with belts. Individuals are identified by their name on the helmet above the visor, and a number on the chest and back packs. Koenig is always number 1, Alan Carter is usually 3; others vary. Another Alphan wears the number 1 in The A B Chrysalis. Apparently each Alphan has their own spacesuit (they do not swap the name labels on their helmets). In Year One living quarters, we often see spacesuits and helmets in the cupboards; in The Last Enemy, Sandra clearly has two spacesuits in her quarters.
Changes in Year 2 included a new badge indicating the Eagle number on both arms, buckles on the belts and revisions to the chest and back packs. The Eagle number is always present, even if the astronaut never boarded an Eagle (Space Warp). Sometimes the Eagle number is incorrect; in The A B Chrysalis Koenig's suit says "Eagle 4" while Alan's is (correctly) "Eagle 1". After Space Warp, an oxygen dial appears on the back pack. A camera helmet is seen in The A B Chrysalis and subsequently.
EVA packs are seen in Space Brain & The Exiles (no back packs are necessary). The packs in The Exiles do not have the central black cylinder seen in Space Brain. One of the firemen in The Bringers Of Wonder part 1 also does not have a backpack.
There were only 6 (possibly 8) different spacesuits. There were no more than 6 helmets and packs. In some sequences (such as Space Brain) the cast had to exchange suits between shots so they could all appear to be wearing spacesuits.
During the filming of Breakaway, the neck ring changed from cloth, with a zip at the back, to corrugated rubber with no zip.
Suit number 4, seen here worn by Paul Morrow but also worn by Bergman and Maya, has a white zip on the left arm. All the other suits only have the zip on the right arm.
The spacesuits have patches of Velcro to secure the neck ring. In the first series these are black, except for Helena's in white. Later, additional Velcro patches were added in a complete ring around the neck, this time in the same orange as the suits so they are not clearly visible on screen.
In The Infernal Machine, the Velcro patches have been removed (their original location, and the stitching holes, are visible). Under the spacesuits, the Alphans wear black sweaters.
In The A B Chrysalis there is a black fabric inside the collar.
In The Immunity Syndrome, Helena and Maya's neck ring is painted white ("We can replace the metal seals on our spacesuits"). Fraser's is still silver.
Under the spacesuit, astronauts seemed to be in normal uniform. In The Exiles they have black balaclavas under the helmets.
The helmets are fibreglass casts from Bell Star motorcycle helmets with bubble visors. The shape was more recognisable in the 1970s. Inside the helmet are straps which can be adjusted to fit. The front of the ridge at the top of the helmet was originally dark, as were the rectangles around the visor. During Year 2 some helmets were repainted, and these features became the same yellow as the rest of the helmet. This is noticeable on the camera helmet introduced in The A B Chrysalis, and seen again in The Bringers Of Wonder part 2. On the back of the helmet are 5 vertical black stripes, which look like vents but are actually black tape. By Year 2, a number of helmets are been repainted and lost these black stripes (for instance, the camera helmet has none).
A metal toggle switch is visible on the underside of the chest pack, originally in orange to blend in with the spacesuit. The packs were revised slightly during Year 2, with numbers in a new typeface. Sections of the front panels were outlined with thicker black borders and some of the sections changed colours. The label "AE2" that appeared bottom right disappeared on most packs, and was replaced on Koenig's pack by a larger label saying "AE3". New belts were used.
In Space Warp, a nozzle (for the emergency air tank) suddenly appears on all the packs, with a dial on the left side in the yellow strip.
The gloves are leather, with a black palm, held to the fibreglass ring at the end of the sleeves by small magnets. They are Les Leston brand driving gloves (Les Leston was a British racing driver in the 1950s). Koenig's silver spacesuit in Brian The Brain has an additional white latch to hold the gloves more securely; there is another type of latch on Alan's suit in The A B Chrysalis, and large metal latches appear on other suits from Space Warp on.
Kander in The Bringers Of Wonder part 1 has a "Records Unit" sticker attached to his helmet.
Zienia Merton's spacesuit, with belt and gloves but without the original packs and helmet, sold for $8000 in August 2013. See the costume guide for further details.
Copyright Martin Willey