Recently, NASA announced its astronauts that will carry the SpaceX and Boeing crewed missions in 2019 and when they showed them, they were equipped with SpaceX and Boeing spacesuits.
Many of us feel like this is a confirmation and NASA has opted to use these lighter spacesuits for their astronauts as they fly the Dragon capsule and the new rockets. What happens with the old spacesuits, you ask? Well, apparently the bulky, heavier suits will be left for spacewalks.
Not even the shuttle crews wore them for launch and entry anymore; instead, they preferred lighter spacesuits, which weighed almost 30 pounds.
What does Boeing bring to the table?
The Boeing design features a lighter and more flexible spacesuit which was made by using state of the art materials and new joint patterns. Instead of keeping them detachable, the helmet and visor are now incorporated into the suit.
The gloves are now able to be used with touchscreens and the suit comes with vents ideally designed for keeping astronauts cool and they ensure proper pressurizing as well. All in all, the suit weighs approximately 20 pounds, even with the integrated shoes on. That’s about 10 pounds lighter than the spacesuits worn by space shuttle astronauts.
The elbows and knees parts of the suit feature ingenious materials which will allow astronauts to move freely and they will also be able to stand or sit comfortably by using the strategically located zippers.
Of course, the suit was already tried on by astronauts to make sure that it is safe. They used different drills to test it, like repeatedly climbing up and down of the mock-up spacecraft while trying out various reaches and positions to find out which of them will work best with the spacesuit and the spacecraft.