After a first overview (last August), Elon Musk has shared on Instagram a full-body picture of SpaceX’s sleek new spacesuit.
Per a recent government audit, NASA may be running out of spacesuits. Used by its astronauts for spacewalks, good substitutes will have to be rolled out soon.
Since 1981, NASA astronauts and then ISS crews have been using spacesuits known as EMU or Extra-Mobility Units–which were designed nearly 40 years ago.
Designed to last fifteen years, most of these suits still work, but the astronauts wearing them could be exposed to some risks.Musk reveals a full-body shot of SpaceX's new spacesuit.Click To Tweet
An Italian astronaut nearly drowned in one of these spacesuits after a leak caused his helmet to start filling with water.
Meanwhile, NASA partners, Boeing and SpaceX, each made its own spacesuit.
New Spacesuits for new Space Challenges
Last January, Boeing had unveiled the new “Boeing Blue” spacesuit that’s more flexible, and 40% lighter than its predecessor, and comes with a myriad new tech.
These spacesuits will be used by future NASA astronauts who will travel to the ISS aboard Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, which is expected to begin crewed flights by the end of 2018.
For the moment, manned flights to the ISS have been carried out exclusively by the Russians for 5 years.
Besides Boeing, SpaceX is also linked with NASA by a contract to send astronauts to and from Earth’s low orbit in its black-and-white Dragon space capsule, and now there’s a matching spacesuit to boot.
Very active on social media, SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk regularly shares news about his innumerable projects.
On August 23rd via Instagram, Musk gave us the first look at the spacesuit SpaceX has developed in-house for the Dragon crews, with a picture featuring the suit’s top portion.
“Worth noting that this actually works (not a mockup),” Musk said via an Instagram post, “Was incredibly hard to balance aesthetics and function.”
SpaceX’s “Stormtrooper” Spacesuit
On Saturday, September 9th, 2017, Musk chose to reveal a little more about the spacesuit that will be used by SpaceX’s astronauts, through a new photo shared via Instagram.
The picture reveals the outfit from head to toe, with the Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 boosters in the background.
With a slim design, futuristic and minimalist look, the black-and-white suit is nothing like NASA’s bulky, Toy Story-like spacesuits.
However, SpaceX’s spacesuit is not designed as an EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) for extra-vehicular activities like the ones used by NASA astronauts for spacewalks.
Rather, it’s designed to provide protection for astronauts inside the Dragon capsule, or for moving over to the ISS under pressurized environment.
Musk had hired Jose Fernandez, a known Hollywood designer who has worked on many action films. Fernandez studio designed costumes and props for Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Batman and many other Marvel and DC superheroes. The influence on the SpaceX design is pretty obvious.