Gordon Cooper, one of the first 7 astronauts recruited by NASA in 1959, is placing in his Mercury suit, the same one used in 1962 by John Glenn, the first American to go into orbit around the Earth.
The Mercury suit was not a real space suit: it was actually a modified version of the Mark-IV air suit, used by the pilots of the U.S. Navy on the very high altitude flights.
Designed to be comfortable for long periods of time – the astronauts of the time did not have the possibility to change on board – it was equipped with the main survival systems: it provided its “inhabitant” oxygen for breathing but also pressure in case This clothing, however, did not allow any kind of extra-veilable activities such as space walks.
After the first flights and the first landings, it was equipped with floats that allowed the pilot to leave the cabin in case of problems after the return.
And if you’re wondering how astronauts could do their own thing, since the space vehicles of those years weren’t equipped with bathrooms, the answer is…in a diaper.
Photo: © NASA