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"The SF approach: an awareness that things could have been different, that this is one of many possible worlds, that if you came to this world from some other planet, this would be a science fiction world."
- Neal Stephenson

Space Suit  
  Special protective gear worn as protection in space.  

The first thing you are going to need in space is ... air. And that's the first requirement from a space suit.

Al was hastily donning his space suit, electrically heated and containing oxygen-respiratory apparatus.
From The Emperor of the Stars, by Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat).
Published by Wonder Stories in 1931
Additional resources -

This is a very early reference to the idea of special protective gear for space travelers. The earliest science fiction stories about space (like Jules Vernes') assume that space explorers will always encounter an atmosphere on celestial bodies (like the moon). Verne does supply fresh air to his explorers in their Projectile vehicle, however:

There now remained only the question of air; for allowing for the consumption of air by Barbicane, his two companions, and two dogs which he proposed taking with him, it was necessary to renew the air of the projectile. Now air consists principally of twenty-one parts of oxygen and seventy-nine of nitrogen. The lungs absorb the oxygen, which is indispensable for the support of life, and reject the nitrogen. The air expired loses nearly five per cent. of the former and contains nearly an equal volume of carbonic acid, produced by the combustion of the elements of the blood. In an air-tight enclosure, then, after a certain time, all the oxygen of the air will be replaced by the carbonic acid-- a gas fatal to life. There were two things to be done then-- first, to replace the absorbed oxygen; secondly, to destroy the expired carbonic acid; both easy enough to do, by means of chlorate of potassium and caustic potash. (more)

The same phrase is found in Edmond Hamilton's 1931 short story The Sargasso of Space:

Among these were some clad in the insulated space-suits, with their transparent glassite helmets.

This term had not been standardized seven years later; in Satellite Five, published in 1938, the phrase was hyphenated - "they piled into space-suits."

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Emperor of the Stars
  More Ideas and Technology by Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat)
  Tech news articles related to The Emperor of the Stars
  Tech news articles related to works by Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat)

Space Suit-related news articles:
  - Spacesuit Z-2: NASA Wants You To Pick Their Next Design

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