After years of lumpy and Tron-esque spacesuit concepts, we're finally getting closer to the slick beautiful designs proposed way back in the '60s. The recently released Boeing spacesuit is designed as a model for what NASA astronauts aboard the proposed Boeing Starliner spacecraft would wear on their 2018 trip to the International Space Station.
Even fully loaded with tools and accessories this iteration would shave off more than 10 pounds compared with the current gear, and it would offer several notable improvements. Chief among them is the absolutely striking similarity to the suits worn in 2001: A Space Oddssey. SpaceX has been doing some cool stuff and all, but as far as I'm concerned, NOW we're ready to start talking about space exploration.
Former astronaut Chris Ferguson modeling the Starliner suit (2017) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The Boeing suit weighs in at just 20 pounds with tons of streamlined fit advances like zippered joints and lighter ergonomic materials. Thinner gloves with conductive tips would help with fine motor movement and connectivity. The helmet seems like a gentle nod to earlier Apollo days, while the lighter grippier boots were developed with Reebok for fancier (and decidedly modern) footwork.
There's more to a successful space flight than dope gear, but the level of elegance and flexibility in this suit is thrilling. Not to put too fine a point on it, but SpaceX still has a lot to beat in the private space race.
Former astronaut Chris Ferguson modeling the Starliner suit Enter a caption (optional)