Thursday January 26, 2017

Boeing's New Spacesuits Are Sleek And Half The Weight

Check out the new suits that astronauts will be wearing onboard the CST-100 Starliner (the capsule that will serve as the primary means to get to the ISS). I guess as technology improves, spacesuits are going to look more and more like basic flight suits, with a tailored fit instead of lots of bulk. As you could tell just by looking, the new suits are lighterآ—10 pounds, to be exactآ—and are even permeable to a certain extent, which means things won’t get as hot.

The full suit, which includes an integrated shoe, weighs about 20 pounds with all its accessories آ– about 10 pounds lighter than the launch-and-entry suits worn by space shuttle astronauts. The new Starliner suit's material lets water vapor pass out of the suit, away from the astronaut, but keeps air inside. That makes the suit cooler without sacrificing safety. Materials in the elbows and knees give astronauts more movement, too, while strategically located zippers allow them to adapt the suit's shape when standing or seated. "The most important part is that the suit will keep you alive," astronaut Eric Boe said. "It is a lot lighter, more form-fitting and it's simpler, which is always a good thing. Complicated systems have more ways they can break, so simple is better on something like this."