Tomato Worm Suits

Tomato Worm suits is the nickname for a style of space suit which was designed in the 1940s. So-named because it brought to mind the caterpillar known as the Tomato Worm or Tomato Hornworm, the Tomato Worm suit had segmented sections at the knees, hips, and elbows, allowing for greater freedom of movement than had previous space suits.

The design of the Tomato Worm suit, with its bellows-style joints, was considered at the time to be a major break-through in space suit engineering. Prior to that, most space suits restricted an astronaut’s freedom of motion at the joints to an almost unmanageable degree, particularly once the suits were pressurized.

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The first Tomato Worm suit was invented by an engineer at the B.F. Goodrich company by the name of Russell Colley. Legend has it that the idea for the segmented joints in pressurized space suits came to Colley while he was in his garden, and saw a Tomato Worm execute a 90-degree turn without any obvious change to the pressure in its body.

Check out our Tomato Worm video!

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Recommended reading:

NASA: The Complete Illustrated History

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