NASA Unveils New Spacesuit for Starliner Astronauts
Astronauts heading into orbit aboard Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft will wear lighter and more comfortable spacesuits than earlier suits astronauts wore. The suit capitalizes on historical designs, meets NASA requirements for safety and functionality, and introduces cutting-edge innovations. Boeing unveiled its spacesuit design Wednesday as the company continues to move toward flight tests of its Starliner spacecraft and launch systems that will fly astronauts to the International Space Station.
A few of the advances in the design:
- Lighter and more flexible through use of advanced materials and new joint patterns
- Helmet and visor incorporated into the suit instead of detachable
- Touchscreen-sensitive gloves
- Vents that allow astronauts to be cooler, but can still pressurize the suit immediately
The full suit, which includes an integrated shoe, weighs about 20 pounds with all its accessories – 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.