Boeing unveils new, blue spacesuits

Janis ColeJan 27, 2017

However, the spacesuits are reportedly to be worn only when the astronauts are inside the Starliner as it travels to and from the International Space Station. Seems heavy, but it's almost 10 pounds lighter than the current suits worn during launch and entry.

Boeing has unveiled new lightweight spacesuits that could make their launch-pad debut early as next year, when the aerospace company's CST-100 Starliner space capsule is scheduled to take its first manned test flight and, eventually, carry astronauts to the International Space Station.

The new "Boeing Blue" suit is created to be lighter and allow more mobility than any spacesuit before. It was created to protect the crew by providing functionality, comfort, and protection while traveling to and from low-Earth orbit destinations like the International Space Station.

Boeing was fastidious about the suit's details. Part of these savings is from eliminating the hard helmet and neck ring in favor of a smaller soft version secured by a zipper and sporting a wider polycarbonate visor for better visibility when pressurized.

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Former NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson, now with Boeing, showed off the suit during a Facebook live video with the Washington Post from NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

An airflow diverter valve on the suit will allow water vapor but not air to pass through the fabric, keeping the astronaut cool, according to Boeing.

"The spacesuit acts as the emergency backup to the spacecraft's redundant life support systems", said Richard Watson, subsystem manager for spacesuits of NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

NASA isn't thrilled about having to pay Russia billions of dollars to launch United States astronauts on Russian rockets inside of Russian spacesuits. "If everything goes perfectly on a mission, then you don't need a spacesuit".Boeing's spacesuits certainly seems to have encouraged NASA.

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The CST-100 Starliner is set to launch in 2018. "You need it to be effective if it is needed".

The suit also has new joint patterns and advanced materials to make it more flexible. It's just that the new one looks more smoothed out than the one in the movie. Since the space shuttle was retired in 2011, the United States has not had the ability to fly human passengers, relying instead on Russian Federation.

Astronaut Eric Boe evaluates Boeing Starliner spacesuit in mockup of spacecraft cockpit.

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