Over the weekend we witnessed with joy and excitement as SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launched Crew Dragon’s Demo-2 mission at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have already safely entered the International Space Station — the very first time in human history that NASA astronauts have been transported to the Space Station from a commercially-made spacecraft. What also caught our eye during these historical moments is the fact that the astronauts are wearing such a lightweight, sleek-looking spacesuit — far removed from NASA’s usual bulky get-ups.
SpaceX sees the spacesuits as part of the Dragon spacecraft system, so it makes sense for them to be created in-house. Each astronaut’s suit is custom-made for the perfect fit — not just for aesthetics but also a personalised pressurised environment tailored to each person’s needs. SpaceX teamed up with Hollywood costume designer Jose Fernandez to create the fitted spacesuit — gone are the days when spacesuits meant bulky Michelin Man aesthetics with very limited flexibility. Fernandez has created some of the most well-known costumes in recent blockbusters including Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ironman 2, Tron, and more.
Besides the appearance, the spacesuits worn inside the Dragon spacecraft are also upgraded with features that include routing communications and cooling systems via just one dock. The outer layer of the suit is flame resistant, the 3D printed helmet offers hearing protection during ascent and reentry, and the gloves are touchscreen compatible. With spacesuits looking like this, there’s just one extra reason for kids to dream of becoming astronauts when they grow up.