In 2018 astronauts will return to low-Earth orbit on board the CST-100 Starliner. If you’ve ever wondered what the latest space travelers will be wearing on board, the wait is over. Today, that picture becomes clearer with the unveiling of the new Starliner spacesuit via live broadcast on The Washington Post’s Facebook page and a link to the Boeing Facebook page.
The new blue suit is significantly lighter than previous pressure suits, weighing in at about 20 pounds (9.1 kilograms). To help reduce weight, the suit sports a hood-like soft helmet – instead of a “bubble” helmet – with a wide polycarbonate visor to provide greater peripheral vision. Rather than using bulky inflation systems, the suit has protective leggings to direct blood flow to the heart. Layers of high-tech fabric help control temperature, moisture and pressure. And the suit isn’t complete without its touch screen-friendly gloves, sensitive enough to use Starliner’s tablet interfaces.
The Starliner’s first missions are to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. To all future space explorers: your suit is ready, and your ride is here. Check out this interactive graphic.
And look for it to fly on Starliner’s first flight, expected next year.