The launch of the Crew Dragon is going to usher in a new wave for the aerospace industry. The aerospace industry is going to restart since its orderly shutdown in 2011. This move is thanks to NASA’s collaboration with SpaceX.
Space fans will notice various changes on the new spacesuit. First, is the color change from the colorful orange to white. These suits are also slim and one-piece. This design is a change to the previous bulky space shuttle suits. Elon Musk had to assure people that this suit is a perfect fit for moving around within a vacuum.
The astronauts on trying on these new suits have confirmed that they are different from the previous ones. Hurley, for instance, says that it is far much better than the Russian Sokol suit, which is used as a backup if missions go sideways.
Although the SpaceX suit is new, it still has to undergo preflight checks. Hurley says that these checks are to identify leaks and the communication system so that they can launch without problems. The suits have proven to be valid with the dummies sent to space, that is, Ripley and the Tesla-driving model. These two were aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-1 test flight and Falcon Heavy rocket.
It appears that the suits are an imitation of the works of the Hollywood costume designer Jose Fernandez. His famous works are costumes for Wonder Woman, Captain America, Batman, and Superman.
Behnken says that they have been recalling their previous styling and create a unique style for this spacecraft. He reiterates that both the former and the current suits symbolize space missions. He is hopeful that they can accomplish great things with these new comfortable suits.
Behnken explains the advantage of this new suit. He said in a preflight video that the outfit is comfortable enough to allow them to assess a situation where the costumes are inflating. He says that the fidelity of these suits gives them a crucial perspective from the actual outfit, the virtual presentation, and the training hardware. These perspectives are vital for the engineers to adjust the reliability of the suit for the mission.
SpaceX has gone further to customize the suit to fit the astronaut’s needs. However, some design features are classified. The firm says that the costumes are integral for working with computer panels in the Crew Dragon system monitors.
NASA’s assurance for astronauts and the world is that the suits are lightweight, functional, and protective in case of depressurization. This protection mechanism is an imitation of the ACES suit in that it can fully pressurize in case the cabin loses oxygen and have an emergency breathing system.
The agency says that at any connection point on the suit, there is a life support system. Also, the helmet has valves, mechanisms for visor locking, and microphones for communication purposes. However, the challenge with the suits is that they are not suitable for spacewalking. It is therefore advisable for astronauts to use the EMU suit, that is, Extravehicular Mobility Unit. This suit is known to last over 8 hours in a full vacuum and protects the wearer from radiation.
NASA is still operating on the advancement of lunar spacesuits. These suits are for the Artemis program expected to send astronauts to the moon before 2024. The agency plans to try these suits in ISS in 2023 if all crucial factors remain constant.
Finally, the SpaceX suits are different from those that will be for use in the Commercial Crew vehicle, Boeing Starliner. The astronauts for this vehicle will wear blue spacesuits with touchscreen-sensitive gloves. This design is to acclimatize to the advanced make of the Starliner.