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The Sound Kitchen

Space suits which fit women – finally!

Audio 20:44
Sound Kitchen Podcast
Sound Kitchen Podcast RFI

This week on The Sound Kitchen, you’ll hear the answer to the question about NASA’s new space suit. There’s a nice tale about people becoming friends at a bus stop, a wonderful Christmas Story, great music – and of course, the new quiz question. Just click on the arrow above and enjoy!


Hello everyone! Welcome to The Sound Kitchen weekly podcast, published every Saturday. You’ll hear the winner’s names announced and the week’s quiz question, along with all the other ingredients you’ve grown accustomed to: your letters and essays, “On This Day”, quirky facts and news, interviews, and great music … so be sure and listen every week.

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This week’s quiz: On 19October, I asked you a question about the new space suit which NASA had just unveiled, a space suit which not only allows more upper body movement but is also designed to fit both men and women … remember last March when the all-female spacewalk at the International Space Station had to be called off because NASA didn’t have enough space suits which would fit women? Well, that problem is solved: on 18 October, astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch took a spacewalk together, because now there are new space suits which will fit all bodies! I asked you to write in with the name of NASA’s new space suit.

The answer is: The Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU). As noted, the xEMU is designed to give the wearer a customised fit whatever their size – or sex! It’s red, white and blue, and this new space suit is not just about the fit: the new suit gives astronauts more mobility in the shoulders, including the ability to reach overhead - which Apollo-era suits weren't capable of. There are also four new bearings built into the xEMU, so there is more mobility at the waist and legs, too.

And this is very important: The suit has an 100% oxygen environment that will help astronauts get to work right away, rather than having to spend time "pre-breathing" to purge nitrogen from their bodies. The suit's life support system should give the astronauts around eight hours' worth of air, with an extra hour for contingency. Pretty cool, no?

The winners are: RFI Listeners Club members Alan Holder from the Isle of Wight in England and Jean-Maurice Devault from Montreal, Canada.  From Ottawa, Canada, there’s Tanting Ghogomu, and from Muzaffargarh, Pakistan, Hijab Abid. Last but by no means least: Alomgir Hossen, who is a member of the Shetu RFI Listeners Club in Naogaon, Bangladesh.

Congratulations winners!

Listeners, you do know that even if you are NOT a member of an official RFI Club or a member of the general RFI Listeners Club, you can still enter the quizzes and win? So don’t be shy! Send in your quiz answers!

Here’s the music you heard on this week’s program: “Eloise Waltz” by Brady Coleman, performed by fiddler Brady Coleman and his friends; “Jupiter” from The Planets by Gustav Holst, performed by the Royal Liverpool Orchestra conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras; “The Flight of the Bumblebee” by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov; “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blaine, sung by Ella Fitzgerald, and the story Christmas Morning, 1949 by Sylvia Seymour Akin, for the National Story Project from National Public Radio in the U-S.

Do you have a musical request? Send it to

This week’s question ... You'll have to listen to the show to participate. You have until 3 February to enter this week's quiz; the winners will be announced on the 8 February podcast. When you enter, be sure you send your postal address in with your answer, and if you have one, your RFI Listeners Club membership number.

Send your answers to:


Susan Owensby
RFI – The Sound Kitchen
80, rue Camille Desmoulins
92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux


By text … You can also send your quiz answers to The Sound Kitchen mobile phone. Dial your country’s international access code, or “ + ”, then 33 6 31 12 96 82. Don’t forget to include your mailing address in your text – and if you have one, your RFI Listeners Club membership number.

To find out how you can win a special Sound Kitchen prize, click here

To find out how you can become a member of the RFI Listeners Club, or to form your own official RFI Club, click here

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