Do spacesuits always have to be so bulky? Do astronauts have to lumber around like the Michelin man? Or is there a way to design something a bit sleeker, more fashionable? Boeing is set to unveil its new spacesuit on Wednesday, giving a look at a suit designed not by NASA but a commercial company.
Boeing is under contract by the space agency to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station next year. The suit would be worn by passengers in the new spacecraft Boeing is designing, the Starliner.
NASA has hired both Boeing and Elon Musk’s SpaceX to fly crews to the space station. Since the space shuttle was retired in 2011, the United States has not had the ability to fly human passengers, relying instead on Russia.
It’s not yet clear whether SpaceX or Boeing would fly first, but whoever does would earn the honor of restoring the country’s ability to fly humans from American soil.
This week, Boeing teased out images of its new suit. And it plans to model it on Wednesday, when it also plans to show off a mockup of the Starliner and the launchpad it is renovating on Cape Canaveral.