Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX wants to send two people around the moon before the end of 2018. To pull this off, Musk needs more than a few high-speed space shuttles—he needs to come up with the proper gear for the job. He appears to have the market cornered on both, with newly released photos of sleek spacesuits (confirmed in their functionality) for scientists and space tourists alike while aboard SpaceX missions to outer space.
Looks like that space race with Boeing may have just had its scales tipped.
It’s not easy to combine form with function in a spacesuit—but leave it to Musk to pull it off.
SpaceX was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk in order to “revolutionize space technology” in the private sector. For now, the company has three vehicles: Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon. The spacesuit, which would theoretically be worn by SpaceX astronauts during missions to the International Space Station and other hotspots in outer space, are more than mock-ups: They’re fully functional.
"More in days to follow. Worth noting that this actually works (not a mockup). Already tested to double vacuum pressure. Was incredibly hard to balance esthetics and function. Easy to do either separately."
That’s no joke. Spacesuits are responsible for staving off pesky nuisances like cosmic radiation while also regulating things like temperature, oxygen and air pressure. To do all this, spacesuits have traditionally been extremely bulky and uncomfortable (National Geographic reports that astronauts have lost fingernails because of today’s sub-par pressurized glove design).
Granted, the SpaceX suit isn’t ready for actual moonwalking—but while you’re traveling among the cosmos in your shuttle, it’ll do just fine.
The public is insisting on a civilian SpaceX line, stat.
OK, so this initial prototype is for professional astronauts who will be manning upcoming SpaceX missions. But it’s only a matter of time, right? And these designs are absolutely sleek enough for civilian wear.
It’s hard to deny that Musk took fashion into account for the design, with slim lines that exude all sorts of sci-fi and Star Wars intonations. No surprise there, either: Musk in 2016 brought in Jose Fernandez to design the suits. Fernandez is a pro costume designer, and the brains behind superhero suits in Batman, The Avengers, and Iron Man.
Even the writers at Tech Crunch are asking for an every astro-clothes line. Sure, at this point we’re only seeing an image of the getup as it appears on a torso. But it is nothing like those parachute suits the NASA astronauts are rocking.
The internet is abuzz with predictions on what the full suit looks like. Excited murmurings suggest we may find out in the next few days.