The Sokol Suit
The launch and entry suit that we wear in the Soyuz is called a Sokol. It would protect us in case of a depressurization of the vehicle. During dynamic phases of flight (launch, entry and docking to the station), we wear the suit…but luckily, for the rest of the two days before docking, we will be able to just wear a flight suit.
The suit has an inner bladder that serves as the leak tight barrier, but first we have to get into the suit (pull up the legs first and put arms in next, and then with some ducking, shrugging and grunting, put my head through the helmet ring).
The hole that we got into the suit through, then has to be sealed.
We fold the heavy rubber-like plastic together and wrap some very sophisticated rubber bands around it, then lace and zip up the outer covering.
Since the suit is designed to be “comfortable” while lying on your back with your knees up nearly to your chest, it is difficult to walk in, without looking a bit like a Neanderthal (shoulders rounded, with a large space on the back side). Do not judge the size of my backside by the Sokol suit…it really isn’t THAT big.