Rest easy, future passengers on the Starliner spacecraft: Boeing unveiled new spacesuits designed for functionality–and a touch of flair.
New “Boeing Blue” suits are customized to maximize individual protection, capability, and comfort.
Developed in collaboration with veteran astronaut Chris Ferguson, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, and David Clark Co. (makers of more than a dozen air and space suits), the uniform will be worn by all crew members traveling to and from low-Earth orbit destinations.
The full spacesuit, including integrated shoes (from Reebok) and all accessories, weighs about 20 pounds–10 pounds lighter than launch-and-entry suits worn by shuttle astronauts.
“It is a lot lighter, more form-fitting and it’s simpler, which is always a good thing,” he continued. “Complicated systems have more ways they can break, so simple is better on something like this.”
Other enhancements include an airflow valve to keep the user cool, leather touch screen-sensitive gloves, and a waist zipper for added comfort when transitioning between sitting and standing.
“The spacesuit acts as the emergency backup to the spacecraft’s redundant life support systems,” Richard Watson, subsystem manager for spacesuits for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, said. “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.”
“The most important part is that the suit will keep you alive,” NASA astronaut Eric Boe said in a statement.
Read the full story by the Associated Press