The Amazing SpaceX Starman Suit And The Evolution Of Spacesuits

Mayukh Bari03 June 2020 2:40PM IST
3 min read588

Elon Musk and his SpaceX team along with NASA creates another milestone. The first time a private organisation took credit for sending astronauts in the space. A Falcon 9 rocket with Crew Dragon module was launched to space at 3:22 p.m. EDT, May 30 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Onboard are two veteran NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. Crew Dragon docked with the ISS at 10:30 a.m. EDT, on the 31st of May.

Another attraction of this space travel was the iconic spacesuits. Elon Musk, the billionaire tech tycoon behind the SpaceX programme, said he worked for 'three to four years' to create prototypes with costume designer Jose Fernandez, who has also designed the outfits for The Avengers, X-Men films and Batman v Superman. Facing the challenges to make an efficient yet beautiful space suit, Elon said,

"You see the spacesuits in the movies - they look good, they don't work well. You can make a spacesuit that works, but it doesn't look good, because fundamentally it's a pressure suit that has to survive in a vacuum."

Elon Musk also said that the design team took much inspiration from different science fiction movies. Now let me show you a brief history of the evolution of spacesuits.

Mercury Suits

This is the representation of Mercury suits which was used in 1962. These are previously painted in battle green as the official colour of defence. But someone thought to change it to silver to give it a tech-shine and an updated look.

Pumpkin Suits

This bright orange space suits are used for increasing visibility in dark environment. This suit was produced in the 90s and in many space missions this one was the only option that time. These suits are used vastly in the modern era of NASA and you can guess why it is called as 'pumpkin suits'.

Starliner Suits

In 2017 Boeing started Starliner spacecraft programme with NASA and they came up with a sleek model of spacesuit. And that was the first iteration of new age spacesuits. These look good in a gorgeous blue color.

SpaceX Suits

This one is the star of the spacesuits and is also named as 'Starman Suit'. It attracts attention with its minimalistic and sleek look. The bulky, spherical helmets favoured by Nasa have been swapped for a slightly more oval design resembling motocross protective headgear. Features inside the ultimate wearable smart garment include touch-sensitive gloves and an 'umbilical' cable port for communications and air.

Extravehicular Mobility Unit

The last but not least is the 'extravehicular mobility unit'. All other suits are capable to handle extreme pressure and temperature but still not suitable for spacewalks as they need to be fitted with many more equipment. Astronauts wore heavy white spacesuits called EMU when going on spacewalks outside the space shuttle or space station.

As you see the technology came a long way since the 60s. But rocket science is still rocket science. Yet there is a good amount of scope for infusing styles into science. These generations of spacesuits prove this concept very well. Maybe in the near future many more people will get the opportunity to wear one and go for space travel.