Alan Shepard rocketed into space in 1961 wearing a shiny silver spacesuit, later it was Ed White who completed the first US spacewalk in a puffy white jumpsuit. In the space shuttle era, astronauts wore bright orange “pumpkin suits” which was effective and protective, but not too stylish. Now Boeing hopes to change that with a cobalt number called Boeing Blue.
The International Space Station aboard the Boeing Starliner launches vehicles and other stuff, but spacesuits have seen some changes, Boeing has announced what astronauts will be wearing, and it sounds like a big improvement.
The suit looks like the bright blue with the fishbowl helmet in favor of a hoodie secured with a pressurized zipper and the gloves work on touch screens, It gives good protection in the event of a serious problem like sudden depressurization or a fire. Astronauts wear it primarily during launches and re-entries, when they face the greatest risk of something going wrong , and the material was designed to allow water vapor out while keeping air in, making the suit cooler.
The “Boeing Blue” suits weigh 12 pounds to the ACES’ 30, it is more flexible, the helmet attached with a zipper and hangs back like a hood when not in use. And the material was designed to allow water vapor out while keeping air in, making the suit cooler.
The suits must face a battery of tests before they’re certified for launch next year, an important reminder that a spacesuit, no matter the material, color, or fit, must do one thing and to make sure astronauts reach space and return home safely.
“We’ve simplified the suit - Astronauts formerly had these relatively bulky heavy suits with thick neck rings, and we learned throughout the years maybe we didn’t need that.”- Ferguson said.
“They’re incredibly similar, which makes a lot of sense because they’re doing the same thing, the nickname for it in the Apollo era was the ‘get me down quick suit," says Nicholas de Monchaux-who wrote Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo, a book about spacesuit design.
Boeing’s suit is an evolution of the pressurized suits high altitude pilots have worn since World War II. Boeing worked with David Clark, the aerospace firm that built pressurized suits for wartime fighter pilots and astronauts in the Gemini, Apollo, and shuttle missions. The goal is to create a suit capable of protecting astronauts from fire and sudden changes in pressure but make it lighter, sleeker, and more comfortable.
Boeing plans to send its first commercial crew up on the Starliner CST-100 launch vehicle in 2018, and they’ll be wearing these suits.