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Boeing’s New Starliner Spacesuits Bring Refreshing Lightness to Low Gravity

Space may be cool (like -270.45 Celsius cool), but the gear astronauts have used aboard spacecraft to go to and from the International Space Station (ISS) has been not so cool. Looking at the spacesuits the Space Shuttle crew used for launch and re-entry, for example, reveals something like a onesie tailored out of a melted traffic cone. Fortunately, the new generation of brave heroes going off to the ISS in Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner Capsule will be donning suits that are lighter, bluer, and both literally and figuratively cooler than the suits they replace.

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Veteran astronaut Chris Furgeson shows off the new Boeing Starliner spacesuit. Image: Boeing

Images of the new Starliner spacesuits, which come via Gizmodo and are available in more detail in the image gallery below, were recently unveiled by NASA and Boeing, and the latter emphasizes the fact that these suits are far lighter than their predecessors; to the tune of about 18 pounds according to the above clip. The suits are also cooler temperature-wise thanks to vents that allow “water vapor [to] pass out of the suit, away from the astronaut, but [still keep] air inside.” The suits also come with “touch-screen friendly” gloves, which seem like an obvious necessity considering the fact that both Boeing’s Starliner capsule and SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, have massive touchscreen displays.

The Starliner spacesuits will also only come in “Boeing Blue.”

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Space Shuttle ACES suit, which was literally referred to as the “pumpkin suit.” Image: Wikimedia / NASA, Kim Shiflett

These suits will only be worn by crew members during take-off and re-entry, and will not replace the extravehicular mobility units (EMUs) that are already aboard the ISS, and used for any kind of operation that goes on outside of the ship.

As far as the Starliner capsule itself is concerned, the plan right now is to send crew members to the ISS in 2018. SpaceX, Elon Musk‘s private space company, will also be ferrying astronauts to the ISS. SpaceX also plans on debuting new suits, which will, of course, be designed in part by a genius superhero costumer.

What do you think about Boeing’s Starliner suits? Are you excited to see a new generation of spacesuits, or are you just waiting for whatever SpaceX debuts? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Images: Boeing

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