With clunky helmets and bright orange onesies, spacesuits aren't exactly fashionable, but Boeing is trying to change that.
The aerospace company unveiled its newest spacesuit for astronauts who take flight on Boeing CST-100 Starliner capsules. The newest "Boeing blue" suits are not only more visually appealing, but have improved functionality, according to Chris Ferguson, a former astronaut and Boeing's current director of Starliner Crew and Mission Systems.
Boeing's suits are more than half of the weight of NASA's orange suits, which are formally called the Advanced Crew Escape Suit, or ACES. The blue suits offer a more comfortable experience for astronauts floating in space, too. They include sneaker-boots that were designed in partnership with Reebok, as well as pants that unzip at the ankles, according to Boeing's announcement of their new product.
As for other components, Boeing's blue suit features a zip-on helmet that resembles a hooded garment, flexible fabric that allows mobility in the elbows and shoulders, and even gloves that are touch-screen compatible.
“We like to think this represents the future of what protective space gear will be,” Ferguson said during an event broadcast on Facebook Live on Wednesday.
Not all astronauts, though, will be able to flaunt the futuristic spacesuits. The blue suits are restricted to those who propel to the International Space Station on the Boeing Starliner in 2018. And the suits aren't made for spacewalks, rather, they're intended to keep astronauts safe inside the capsule by providing air and cooling mechanisms until they land safely on Earth.
"It's a suit that will get future Starliner astronauts home," Ferguson said.
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