From The Runway To The Milky Way “Space Couture”

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (SPY) — SpaceX has unveiled a sleek white spacesuit for astronauts on its crewed flights coming up next year.

The spacesuit has been tested on Earth and works, says Elon Musk.

Chief executive Elon Musk made the big reveal via Instagram on Wednesday. He says it’s not him in the new suit, rather a SpaceX engineer.

SpaceX is developing a crew version of its Dragon cargo capsule for NASA astronauts. Boeing is also working to get U.S. astronauts flying again from home soil. Boeing is going blue for spacesuits for its Starliner capsules.

U.S. astronauts last rocketed away from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 2011. They’ve since been riding Russian rockets to get to the International Space Station.

Musk says the new SpaceX suit has been tested on Earth – and works. He says it was incredibly hard to balance aesthetics and function.

SpaceX Will Launch and Land a Rocket Today: Watch It Live!

SpaceX has successfully launched the Formosat-5 satellite landed the Falcon 9 rocket.

The two-stage Falcon 9 lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 2:51 p.m. EDT (1851 GMT; 11:51 a.m. local time), hauling the Formosat-5 spacecraft into the heavens.

About 2.5 minutes after launch, the rocket’s two stages separated. The second stage continued carrying Formosat-5 toward its prescribed orbit, and the first stage performed a series of maneuvers to head toward the SpaceX drone ship “Just Read the Instructions,” which was stationed in the Pacific Ocean.

U.S. astronauts last rocketed away from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 2011. They’ve since been riding Russian rockets to get to the International Space Station.

Musk says the new SpaceX suit has been tested on Earth — and works. He says it was incredibly hard to balance aesthetics and function.

 Elon-Musk-SpaceX
Boeing has unveiled the advanced new lightweight spacesuits that astronauts will sport as passengers aboard the company’s CST-100 Starliner space taxi during commercial taxi journey’s to and from and the International Space Station (ISS) and other low Earth orbit destinations.

Taking the Space walk instead of the cat walk here are some of the former Space suits that were hitting the highest in space fashion.

1gf0HrxHere are the names and dates for that original image:

Row 1, left to right:

  1. Mk IV Suit, built by BF Goodrich in the 1960s
  2. Mk II Model “O” Suit, built by BF Goodrich, 1956
  3. Mk V Modified suit, built by BF Goodrich, 1968
  4. Mk II Model “R” suit, BF Goodrich, 1956
  5. Mercury Spacesuit (worn by Alan Shepard), based on the Navy Mk IV, BF Goodrich, 1960
  6. RX-3 MOL Prototype, Litton Industries, 1965
  7. AES Apollo Apollo Applications Project Chromel-R Cover Layer, Litton Industries, 1969
  8. A4-H Apollo Developmental suit, ILC for Hamilton Standard, 1964
  9. SPD-143 Apollo Developmental AX1-L, ILC Industries, 1963
  10. A5-L Apollo Prototype, ILC Industries, 1965
  11. EX1-A Apollo Applications Project, AiResearch Corporation, 1968
  12. Mk V, modified, BF Goodrich, 1968
  13. Pressure garment from the G4-C spacesuit worn by Gene Cernan on Gemini 9, 1965

Row 2, left to right:

  1. Sokol KV-2
  2. RX-2A, Litton Industries, 1964
  3. AX-3, NASA Ames Research Center, 1974
  4. Mercury Spacesuit
  5. AES, Apollo Applications Project, Chromel-R Cover Layer, Litton Industries, 1969
  6. Sokol
  7. Mk IV, Arowhead, late 1950s
  8. RX-2 Legs with RX-2A Partial Torso, Litton Industries, 1964
  9. Apollo A7-L EVA Suit, ILC Industries, 1970
  10. Apollo A7-LB EVA Suit, ILC Industries, 1971
  11. Apollo A7-L EVA Suit, ILC Industries, 1970
  12. Mercury Spacesuit
  13. Soviet SK-1 Spacesuit, 1961-63
  14. G3-C, David Clark Company, 1964

I’M Blue Da De Da Da Da

 The signature ‘Boeing Blue’ spacesuits will be much lighter, as well as more flexible and comfortable compared to earlier generations of spacesuits wore by America’s astronauts over more than five decades of human spaceflight, starting with the Mercury capsule to the latest gear worn by Space Shuttle astronauts.

“The suit capitalizes on historical designs, meets NASA requirements for safety and functionality, and introduces cutting-edge innovations,” say NASA officials.

The suits protect the astronauts during both launch and reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere during the return home.

Indeed Chris Ferguson, a former NASA Space Shuttle Commander who now works for Boeing as a Starliner program director, helped reveal the ‘Boeing Blue’ spacesuits during a Facebook live event, where he modeled the new suit.

“We slogged through some of the real engineering challenges and now we are getting to the point where those challenges are largely behind us and it’s time to get on to the rubber meeting the road,” Ferguson said.

The suits offer superior functionality, comfort and protection for astronauts who will don them when crewed Starliner flights to the space station begin as soon as next year.

Astronaut Eric Boe evaluates Boeing Starliner spacesuit in mockup of spacecraft cockpit. Credit: Boeing

At roughly half the weight (about 10 pounds vs. 20 pounds) compared to the launch-and-entry suits worn by space shuttle astronauts, crews look forward to wearing the ‘Boeing Blue’ suits.

“Spacesuits have come in different sizes and shapes and designs, and I think this fits the Boeing model, fits the Boeing vehicle,” said Chris Ferguson, Boeing director of Starliner Crew and Mission Systems and a former NASA astronaut.

Among the advances cited are:

  • Lighter and more flexible through use of advanced materials and new joint patterns
  • Helmet and visor incorporated into the suit instead of detachable. The suit’s hood-like soft helmet sports a wide polycarbonate visor to give Starliner passengers better peripheral vision throughout their ride to and from space.
  • A communications headset within the helmet also helps connect astronauts to ground and space crews
  • Touchscreen-sensitive gloves that allow astronauts to interact with the capsule’s tablets screens overhead
  • Vents that allow astronauts to be cooler, but can still pressurize the suit immediately
  • Breathable, slip resistant boots
  • Zippers in the torso area will make it easier for astronauts to comfortably transition from sitting to standing
  • Innovative layers will keep astronauts cooler

“The most important part is that the suit will keep you alive,” astronaut Eric Boe said, in a statement. “It is a lot lighter, more form-fitting and it’s simpler, which is always a good thing. Complicated systems have more ways they can break, so simple is better on something like this.”

The astronauts help the designers to perfect the suits very practically by wearing them inside Starliner mock-ups, moving around to accomplish tasks, reaching for the tablets screens, and climbing in and out of the capsule repeatedly, says Boe “so they can establish the best ways for astronauts to work inside the spacecraft’s confines.”

“The spacesuit acts as the emergency backup to the spacecraft’s redundant life support systems,” said Richard Watson, subsystem manager for spacesuits for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Hull of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner Structural Test Article (STA)- the first Starliner to be built in the company’s modernized Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility high bay at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

“If everything goes perfectly on a mission, then you don’t need a spacesuit. It’s like having a fire extinguisher close by in the cockpit. You need it to be effective if it is needed.”

Boe is one of four NASA astronauts that form the core cadre of astronauts training for the initial flight tests aboard either the Boeing Starliner or SpaceX Crew Dragon now under development as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew program.

The inaugural flight tests are slated to begin in 2018 under contract to NASA.

The procedure on launch day will be similar to earlier manned launches. But for Starliner, the capsule will launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket – currently being man-rated.

Astronauts will don the new ‘Boeing Blue’ suit in the historic Crew Quarters. The will ride out to the rocket inside an astrovan. After reaching Space Launch Complex 41, they will take the elevator up, stride across the recently installed Crew Access Arm and board Starliner as it stands atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

The first test flight will carry a crew of two. Soon thereafter the crew size will grow to four when regular crew rotation flights to the ISS start as soon as 2019.

“To me, it’s a very tangible sign that we are really moving forward and we are a lot closer than we’ve been,” Ferguson said. “The next time we pull all this together, it might be when astronauts are climbing into the actual spacecraft.”

Boeing is currently manufacturing the Starliner spacecraft at the company’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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