SpaceX reveals new sleek spacesuits ahead of upcoming historic mission

SpaceX has revealed its new Extravehicular Activity (EVA) suits that could make their low-Earth orbital debut by summer’s end. The new uniform is described as an evolution of the spacesuits currently worn by astronauts aboard Dragon missions, which are designed solely for remaining within pressurized environments. In contrast, the EVA suits will allow astronauts to work both within and outside their capsule as needed thanks to a number of advancements in materials fabrication, joint design, enhanced redundancy safeguards, as well as the integration of a helmet visor heads up display (HUD).

Announced over the weekend, the SpaceX EVA suits will be worn by the four crewmembers scheduled to comprise the Polaris Program’s first mission, Polaris Dawn. First launched in 2022, the Polaris Program is a joint venture through SpaceX intended to “rapidly advance human spaceflight capabilities,” according to its website. Targeted for no earlier than summer 2024, Polaris Dawn will mark the first commercial spacewalk, as well as the first spacewalk to simultaneously include four astronauts. While making history outside their Dragon capsule, the crew will be the first to test Starlink laser-based communications systems that SpaceX believes will be critical to future missions to the moon and eventually Mars.

Polaris Dawn astronaut crew wearing EVA suits
Polaris Dawn’s four astronauts will conduct their mission no earlier than summer 2024. SpaceX

Mobility is the central focus of SpaceX’s teaser video posted to X on May 4, with an EVA suit wearer showing off their smooth ranges of motion for fingers, shoulders, and elbows. As also detailed on Monday, SpaceX EVA suits are fabricated with a variety of textile-based thermal materials and include semi-rigid rotator joints that allow work in both pressurized and unpressurized environments. For the boots, designers utilized the same temperature resilient material found in the Falcon 9 rocket’s interstage and Dragon capsule’s trunk.

Polaris Dawn astronauts will also sport 3D-printed polycarbonate helmets with visors coated in copper and indium tin oxide alongside anti-glare and anti-fog treatments. During the spacewalk roughly 435-miles above Earth, each crewmember’s helmet will project a built-in heads up display (HUD) to provide real-time pressure, temperature, and relative humidity readings.

[Related: Moon-bound Artemis III spacesuits have some functional luxury sewn in.]

Similar to the Prada-designed getups for NASA’s Artemis III astronauts, the SpaceX EVA suit is also meant to illustrate a future in which all kinds of body types can live and work beyond Earth. SpaceX explains that all the EVA upgrades are scalable in design, which will allow customization to accommodate “different body types as SpaceX seeks to create greater accessibility to space for all of humanity.” Its proposed goal of manufacturing “millions” of spacesuits for multiplanetary life may seem far-fetched right now, but it’s got to start somewhere—even if only just four of them at the moment.

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