NASA astronauts who will embark on the new spaceship of Boeing will wear new spacesuits. The newly developed suits are sleek and lighter, making astronauts feel more comfortable when wearing them compared to that orange one of the space shuttle area. On January 25, the new Boeing Blue spacesuits were launched, being meant for the astronauts on Starliner.
- Boeing Blue spacesuits are the newly developed costumes for Starliner astronauts.
- They are lighter and more form-fitting than the old orange ones.
- Astronauts will use Starliner craft as a space taxi, travelling to and from the orbit.
A costume weighs about nine kilos together will all the needed accessories. The old orange one weighed 13.6 kg. The new suits come with more features. They are equipped with touch-screen-sensitive gloves, having soft helmets directly implemented into the suit, and the fabric is more flexible. This new technology surpasses the old bulky suits used in the shuttle era.
Eric Boe, a NASA astronaut, stated that the newly designed costume is lighter, simpler and form-fitting, these being imperative characteristics which could only bring benefits to astronauts. If they wore complicated suits with a lot of accessories and systems, they would be more likely to break. The simpler the outfit, the better for the astronaut.
Boe is one of the four astronauts at NASA who is currently trained to fly aboard the Dragon capsule of SpaceX but also aboard the Starliner. Both NASA and SpaceX developed these capsules to use them as space taxi services, traveling to and from the International Space Station. Both space crafts are scheduled to launch crewed missions sometime during the next two years.
The new spacesuits together with the one which is currently developed by SpaceX are bound to help astronauts keep safe in case an emergency situation occurs during space journeys from and to the orbit. Nevertheless, these suits were not created for spacewalks. The large orange ones known as extravehicular mobility units need to be used instead. These are aboard the ISS.
Richard Watson, the subsystem manager for spacesuits in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, noted that generally, a spacesuit represents the emergency backup to the life-support systems of the spaceship. If the mission goes according to the plan, then nobody needs to wear a spacesuit.
Since the retirement of the space shuttles back in July 2011, NASA relied on the spacecraft sent by Russia, Soyuz. This helped American astronauts to travel to and from the ISS at the cost of $70 million per seat. NASA specialists hope that Dragon and Starliner will put an end to this foreign dependence.
Image source: wikipedia