Space Suits and Combat

Because if you’re going to have a blog called “Rayguns and Space Suits”, then you better post something about space suits! Anyway, the genesis for this nugget of a post came from random thought that crossed my mind the other day. I noticed that in a lot, if not most, military science fiction and space opera, you never see the crew of warships wearing space suits during combat situations. Star Trek (specifically during the Dominion War), Star Wars, Babylon 5, and Battlestar Galactica are all examples. It’s just odd that if you’re about to go into battle or if there is a potential for combat - such as patrolling a border shared with an adversarial state, an area rife with trouble, etc. - you would wear a suit to protect yourself from loss of atmosphere, life support, etc. David Weber’s Honorverse is a good example of what I mean. In the first book, On Basilisk Station, there’s a scene where Honor Harrington and her crew don suits prior to combat. Granted, a ship’s crew wouldn’t need to wear a suit if they’re part of a Home Fleet or just jaunting from port to port.

I suppose it’s a stylistic choice, it would be awkward if they had episodes of Deep Space Nine or BSG where the main characters stopped what they were doing to try and squeeze into a space suit. The helmets themselves would also hide the actors faces, which would make it impossible for them to convey emotion. On the other hand, mil scifi novels wouldn’t have either problem, since it’s nothing to just drop a mention the former and the latter is a non-issue.
The RPF.

Of course, it would probably be uncomfortable to wear a helmet nearly all the time, but there’s an easy fix: awesome tech! Okay, maybe not call it that. In the big screen adaptation of Lost in Space from the 90s, Matt LeBlanc’s character had an awesome helmet that would wrap around his head on command. A sufficiently advanced tech level could have the same type of helmet, store in the suit itself and keyed to deploy as soon as one of the aforementioned situations arises.

A neat idea would be to give the helmet some enhanced functionality when worn. A HUD could be displayed on the faceplate.

Hmm, I’m definitely going to have to file this away for future worldbuilding use.


  1. What if spacesuits were actually suits?

    You know, double breasted with color coded ties-Command gold, science blue, operations red etc.

  2. Well, of course the suits could be customized to show rank and whatnot. A better option could be to have the suit underneath the uniform, not unlike the bodyglove that Stormtroopers from Star Wars wear under their armor.


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