Boeing Reveals New Space Suit Design for Starliner Missions

The snazzy outfit, unveiled at the Kennedy Space Center, is expected to be worn by astronauts starting in 2023

An image of Boeing's new spacesuit on display at the Kennedy Space Center
Boeing's Ascent/Entry Suit (AES) design was drawn up by ILC Dover, an engineering development and manufacturing company based in Delaware. Boeing/NASA

Aerospace company Boeing debuted their new Starliner astronaut spacesuit in a NASA exhibit that opened on June 15th. The cosmic threads are outfitted in Boeing’s signature blue color and are to be worn by astronauts launching and landing on the company’s CST-100 Starliner capsulesCollectSPACE reports.

The suit is part of NASA's display, Gateway: The Deep Space Complex, at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The exhibit explores the latest innovations by NASA and its commercial partners, reports Gizmodo's Passant Rabie.

Boeing's Ascent/Entry Suit (AES) design was drawn up by ILC Dover, an engineering development and manufacturing company based in Delaware. ILC Dover's previously designed spacesuits have been worn for over 250 space flights, six moon landings and over 3,000 hours of spacewalks. The company has been the primary supplier of spacesuits for NASA since the Apollo era, a statement explains. 

Mythbuster's Adam Savage was asked to create the replica of Boeing and ILC's space suit at the Kennedy Space Center. Savage has a long history of creating detailed recreations of vintage space suits, according to CollectSpace. He referenced hundreds of photographs provided by Boeing and ILC, which he had to destroy after completing the replica suit, Savage tells CollectSPACE. Small details from the suit's embroidered starbursts running down the arms to the hardware of the suit and helmet were matched to Boeings specifications. 

"It was not just about getting the graphics right to get the embroidery right. It was also about embroidering it onto the fabric at the right bias because we were matching the bias on the original everywhere we could. There were just a whole bunch of factors that all had to work in perfect concert with each other. That was maybe one of the most difficult parts about replicating" said Savage to CollectSPACE.

The Crew Space Transportation (CST) Starliner is a spacecraft designed by Boeing to be used for low-Earth orbit missions. It can accommodate up to seven people, or a mixture of crew and cargo, for deliveries and crew changes to the International Space Station (ISS) and other docking sites. Boeing's bright blue new suits are set to be worn no sooner than 2023 when Boeing begins flying astronauts on NASA-contracted missions, a statement explains.

ILC Dover has also been selected to design NASA's new-generation spacesuits to be worn by astronauts aboard the ISS and during the Artemis missions to put humans and a base on the moon, Gizmodo reports.

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