Soyuz spacecraft ferries astronauts to the international space station. It has been in use since the 1960s and russia is replacing it with a new Russian ship. Its name is Federation and the design of spacesuits will need modification to adapt to the new generation of craft. The material used for the suits will be of a new type and be adaptable to different body sizes. Russia has unveiled it but it might need some changes.

This is because it fails to perform a certain ritual that the Russians have been following since the times of Yuri Gagarin. He was the first man to go to space.

The Guardian explains the background of the ritual. It relates to an incident when Yuri Gagarin was on his way to the launch pad in 1961. He was on a bus and wanted to relieve himself, so he got down and made himself comfortable by releasing pressure on the rear wheel of the bus.

That became a part of the standard procedure for Russian astronauts. The problem is that the new design lacks that flexibility. As far as female astronauts are concerned, such a ritual is not obligatory – but some of them have brought their urine and splashed it on the wheel.

Minor redesigning could be on the cards

The Russian Soyuz spacecraft has been in service since the 1960s. It is on its way out and the Federation will be the replacement.

Aerospace firm Zvezda will produce the new version of the spacesuit and they say it will be made of some new material. These new suits will be “adaptable to different body sizes.” Astronauts proceeding to the International Space Station could use them.

The Guardian goes on to add that astronauts followed the ritual set by Gagarin at every launch from the Baikonur launch pad.

They feel it brings good luck. However, the maker admits that it would be impossible to carry out the ritual in the new suit. They argue that “We have the design specifications. They don’t state that it’s necessary to pee on the wheel.” Obviously, in order to accommodate this feature on the new suit, the design specifications would need modification. The new version is orange colored Sokol-M with a single diagonal zipper. The color of the older version was white Sokol-K and it has a V-shaped opening in the front.

Russians follow other rituals also

According to News 18, Russia has unveiled a new spacesuit for a future spaceship. The design might require changes to continue with a decades-old tradition. This is when the astronaut breaks the journey to the Baikonur launch pad to relieve himself. Yuri Gagarin did it in 1961 and others have replicated the move over the years. It is mandatory for the crew of the ISS space lab who travel by the Soyuz spacecraft to wear the made-to-measure Sokol-K suits.

Incidentally, there are a few other rituals associated with Soyuz launches like planting trees at Baikonur, getting haircuts, and watching a specific Soviet classic. They also have an Orthodox priest sprinkle holy water on them.

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