|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Jan 26, 2017 10:18 AM EST|
(Photo : The Boeing Company) The Boeing Blue spacesuit with Reebok boots. .
Boeing has revealed its special spacesuits to be worn by NASA astronauts and passengers traveling into space aboard its Starliner manned crew capsule intended for flights into low Earth orbit where the International Space Station (ISS) resides.
Aptly named "Boeing Blue," the sleek and form hugging spacesuits to be used aboard Starliner are aesthetically different from the bulky white spacesuits astronauts are used to wearing. Boeing Blue weighs some nine kilograms with all of its accessories compared to the 13.6 kg weight of the space suits worn by astronauts travelling to the ISS.
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Boeing Blue, however, is only intended for use inside the Starliner. It can't be worn for spacewalks or extra vehicular activity (EVA) in outer space.
In a nod to technology, the Boeing spacesuit comes with touch-screen-sensitive gloves and more-flexible material. Astronauts will also wear hood-like soft helmets incorporated into the suit compared to the hard, detachable helmets now in use.
The suit's soft helmet sports a wide polycarbonate visor to give Starliner passengers better peripheral vision in their ride to and from space. They will also be wearing sporty boots developed in association with Reebok.
The Boeing Blue suit will also help keep astronauts safe in the event of an emergency during trips to and from orbit.
"The spacesuit acts as the emergency backup to the spacecraft's redundant life-support systems," said Richard Watson, subsystem manager for spacesuits in NASA's Commercial Crew Program.
"If everything goes perfectly on a mission, then you don't need a spacesuit. It's like having a fire extinguisher close by in the cockpit. You need it to be effective if it is needed."
Chris Ferguson, Boeing's director of Starliner Crew and Mission Systems and a former Space Shuttle commander, noted the material used in Boeing Blue is more lightweight than the Shuttle suits, which are technically called the Advanced Crew Escape Suit or ACES.
There are other notable differences to ACES. Zippers in the torso area of Boeing Blue will make it easier for astronauts to comfortably transition from sitting to standing.
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