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The Real Reason SpaceX Is Developing A New Space Suit

The Real Reason SpaceX Is Developing A New Space Suit

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has already managed to define the aesthetic of 21st century human space flight with its Crew Dragon spacesuit, a certifiably iconic look, but these shining white star men and women are only the beginning.

The EVA suit

So what happened to these SpaceX suits, they look almost too cool to be actually functional, but they’re not, these are the most advanced flight suits in the world and they effectively allow people to travel in space comfortably. Let’s give the SpaceX Crew Dragon astronauts they are wearing what is technically known as an EVA suit or intravehicular activity.

This is in contrast to the EVA suit or extra vehicular activity that you would see if people actually floated in outer space, so before we get to the future possibilities of the SpaceX EVA suit we need to understand EVA, as well as flight suit EVA at all also have to understand. Where to go it is worn only while launching or landing the vehicle or you can also call it as pressure suit because it is the most important work.

What this device does is it keeps the astronaut pressurized in the event of a catastrophic failure, so in an ideal world you wouldn’t need to wear this suit at all because the Dragon capsule is already pressurized and has Contains all the life support functions you need. , but if it ever stopped mid-flight, the crew would be in trouble very quickly. In 1971, the Soviet Union lost a crew of three on the Soyuz 11 mission after its capsule lost pressure on its return to Earth.

A valve that was damaged when it separated from the platform and the crew suffocated within a minute of a pressure leak, it’s been a rough road so no matter how much confidence we have in our vehicle and its technology today, we sail Let’s do it once. As safe as it is, astronauts can go about wearing the suit, but during ascent and descent we expect everything that can go wrong will go wrong, the three main functions of the modern iwa suit are, providing fresh air, Maintaining temperature and maintaining pressure. Man is surviving in the void of space, but even then this is only for the worst-case scenario.

The Spacex Suit

When SpaceX was developing their Dragon capsule they knew that the ultimate goal of this vehicle would be human space flight which meant that at some point a pressure suit would be necessary and Elon Musk wanted to make sure the astronauts flying SpaceX would have a make a lasting impression on the world, so Elon actually hired a Hollywood costume designer named Jose Fernandez, who has a long history of creating superhero costumes for high-budget Marvel and DC movies.

Jose knew nothing about human space flight, never even heard of it. Until SpaceX or Elon Musk hired him, Elon wanted Jose to make the flight suit tuxedo something everyone would look best in, giving the astronaut a sleek and well-defined figure like a superhero Could Admittedly, this is in stark contrast to how everyone wearing the old Space Shuttle flight suits looked like a walking pumpkin.

So first came the design of the SpaceX suit, and then Elon was confident enough in his technical team that they would be able to reverse engineer it into a fully functional IVA. The suit that will be approved by NASA is the reason why each crew flying the Dragon capsule feel as if they are about to walk onto a movie set, they all look perfect and this is largely due to the fact That each SpaceX suit is like a tuxedo.

All suits designed for individual astronauts are produced at the SpaceX Hawthorne California headquarters with the Falcon rocket and Merlin engine, this may sound like pure vanity but an act of precision fit is the precise way the suit interacts with the physical adds up. Also have to coordinate. At places like the human body’s joints, shoulders, elbows and knees, when the suit is pressurized it gives the astronaut a great range of motion and control, just try and imagine for a second that airtight clothing what would it be like to wear.

It’s like walking around in a suit with an inflated balloon. The bigger the baggie the less fit you’ll actually be able to move around in. SpaceX engineers were then able to achieve the sleek minimalist look by removing all of the external valves and hoses that you normally see. Let’s look at it in general. The pressure suit type is also a more modern suit design to look at, like the Chinese taikonauts wear on their visits to the Tiangong space station.

You can see the big main valve in the center of the chest then on the right they have external wires down their torso and on the left the electronics is a hose attachment and it connects to the life support box they have to carry in their hands How to get rid of all that hardware that SpaceX has? One of the first things they did was to design the suit as a whole, integrated with the Dragon capsule’s systems, so that when the crew took their seats inside the capsule, they could remove their suits from the chair. An umbilical cable connects to a port on the thigh, a connection that supplies power air and a pressure line to the astronaut suit.

Breathe only a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen that is managed by Dragon’s onboard computer, you don’t want too much nitrogen as it can bubble into the blood during pressure changes, the mixture needs to be kept at a comfortable temperature for the astronaut is cooled. During high-temperature re-entry, the astronaut’s helmet has built-in sensors that monitor pressure and temperature and feed this data into an automated computer.

Therefore there is no need for manual adjustments by the astronaut which eliminates the need for any external valves on the suit. All this extra hardware SpaceX not only makes their suits better, but also makes it much easier for the crew to put on and take off the old-style flight suits, which came in several sections that had to be fitted together and helped Meets many people had to be taken. It’s not so bad to fit an astronaut during pre-flight operations on Earth.

But they have to get back in those suits before they leave the ISS and that means doing it all in zero gravity with gloves and helmets and stuff floating everywhere. The SpaceX suit is a more straightforward process, it’s a single piece jumpsuit type design, so the astronauts go inside through pants that open with a zippered inseam, then they stand up in the suit and step into the shoes And then zip the pants back up and they’re good to go, with more zippers on the forearm so the astronaut can quickly get their real hand out of the glove to do more precise work.

The Spacex Eva Suit

very nice suits and they are perfect for the job they were intended for but spacex needs to push their capability even further now is the time to release the capsule if you dare we Not talking about Major Tom here, the guy walking out the door. Jared Isaacman, the Dragon capsule heading into the void of outer space, you may remember him as the leader of the Inspiration 4 crew.

They’ve made a Netflix show about Jared, he has big plans for the next SpaceX flight, it’s called Polaris. Dawn and the SpaceX Dragon capsule and its systems are being pushed to the limits, Polaris Dawn aims to reach the highest Earth orbit ever achieved and reach the Van Allen radiation belts that lie at the boundary of Earth’s magnetic field. According to Isaacman, the crew will perform the spacewalk at an altitude of 700 kilometers above sea level, they are going with an additional vehicle.

SpaceX is developing an EVA suit that will be an advanced version of their current EVA suit which is why we had to celebrate IBA first because this new SpaceX suit is an improved version of the suit they already have, it’s a significant The move is because just as the EVA suit was critical to the development of the Dragon vehicle, the EVA suit will be equally important to Starship. , if SpaceX is going to push Elon’s whole Mars City end game, they’re going to need a lot of spacesuits and they’re going to need to be capable and strong enough to keep people alive in some very extreme conditions, so Polaris don going to serve.

Halfway through there is an opportunity to use their existing suit design to test some extended capabilities if you look at the render of Polaris Dawn it shows the existing Stratton suit floating outside the Dragon capsule with an umbilical cord attached, yes this is a very basic concept art and is not at all indicative of what the spacex eva suit will actually look like, it indicates that the umbilical connection will run from iba to eva operation and if we look at it that’s pretty much it for now It matters. Typical astronauts do spacewalks in the ISS, they wear their life support systems on their backs and this allows them to cover a lot of ground and move freely around the exterior of the station which is not necessary for Polaris Dawn And it’s going to add to it.

Extra features in EVA suit. We can imagine that the Polaris Dawn spacewalk will have a lot in common with NASA’s Project Gemini from the early 1960s, the first mission where astronauts entered a capsule. Released and floating freely in outer space, these were the first EVAs supported by the spacecraft’s umbilical connections, made of an outer layer of gold-coated nylon with silicone rubber tubing inside the umbilical, which had a tensile strength of 350 pounds. and an additional nylon tether line with a strength of one thousand pounds, so obviously SpaceX will need to make its existing umbilical connection stronger and more secure, but the concept of using it to support a spacewalk is entirely new.

Another major factor that needs to be considered in a spacewalk is how the astronaut is moving. Astronauts who coast on most ISS spacewalks use a system of tethers to move around the exterior of the station. And they’ve enlisted the help of the Robotics Canada branch and they also have access to a space jet pack that fires nitrogen gas thrusters to fly around. Polaris Dawn won’t have a robotic arm to help them, and while the jet pack seems a bit heavy and excessive for a mission going back to Project Gemini, you’ll notice that the astronauts are holding a strange device in their hand that actually is in one of the air pressure is the guns they use to move it around.

It seems like SpaceX might be able to develop something for Polaris Dawn, they could easily make it too small for a modern day, you can imagine Iron Man style hand thrusters would be quite effective for this. The most important thing that SpaceX needs to consider with its new EVA suit design will be radiation protection as Polaris Dawn reaches a range of 700 km.

Being close to the inner reaches of the Van Allen radiation belts, their exposure to cosmic radiation would be much greater than that experienced on the ISS at an altitude of about 400 km, so going outside the capsule would be necessary even for short periods of time. If conditions are not well shielded can be physically dangerous to the astronaut, current IWA suits probably have no radiation protection as you won’t need it, you are already inside a shielded spacecraft but SpaceX has opportunities to incorporate effective radiation protection. existing suit designs if they want the best possible materials for blocking cosmic rays.

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