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SpaceX unveils its first spacesuit

SpaceX unveils its first spacesuit

An important page in the history of space conquest will be written this summer during the special Polaris Dawn mission. On this occasion, two of the four crew members will carry out the first spacewalk for civilian astronauts. To do this, they will use a pressurized spacesuit SpaceX has just introduced.

It is an evolution of the In-Vehicle Activity (IVA) suit worn by astronauts traveling on the Crew Dragon capsule to reach the International Space Station. If the general appearance strongly resembles the original model, the EVA version is specially adapted to face the vacuum of space.

Helmet with sun visor and built-in display

According to technical elements reported by SpaceX, the suit has joints on the arms that remain flexible until stressed while maintaining its ability to move. Joint flexibility in the wrists, elbows, waist and legs has been redesigned to maintain mobility when equipment is under stress. The outer layer of the suit that will be directly exposed to the space is abrasion resistant and flame retardant. Under the suit, astronauts wear thermal clothing that regulates temperature.

The helmet received two major developments: a polycarbonate visor coated on the outside with copper and indium tin oxide for sun protection; A head-up display system displays the suit's pressure, temperature and humidity. The four Polaris Dawn astronauts will wear this suit during liftoff, return to Earth, and during spacewalks.

You should know that since the Crew Dragon capsule does not have an airlock, it will be depressurized for the duration of the spacewalk, which is scheduled to last two hours. The astronauts will exit using a device called a “Skywalker” located in the front door. They will be connected to the ship via a secret system that maintains the technical and vital functions of the suit.

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A combination designed for the Moon and Mars

Polaris Dawn will be used to test the suit's performance in real conditions. Eventually, SpaceX plans to spread this equipment to all of its human flights. In fact, the company is planning for the long term by already considering the use that will be made during missions to the Moon and Mars. ” If Polaris Dawn is the first use of SpaceX's extravehicular activity (EVA) suit in low Earth orbit, its ultimate fate lies somewhere far beyond our planet. », announces the space company. ” Building a base on the Moon and a city on Mars will require developing a scalable design for the millions of spacesuits needed to make life multi-planetary. »

About Polaris Dawn

Polaris Dawn The flight will be the first of three private flights in the Polaris program, which was unveiled in February 2022. This five-day mission is being carried out in partnership with SpaceX, which is providing the on-board Crew Dragon capsule, which will be played by Jared Isaacman, (Commander and Commander). Polaris program sponsor), former US Air Force Lt. Col. Scott Poteet, as well as Sarah Gillies and Anna Menon, engineers at SpaceX.

In addition to the EVA, which will take place at an altitude of 700 km, Polaris Dawn intends to break the orbital altitude record set by the Gemini 11 mission since 1966 (1,372 km) by reaching an apogee of 1,400 km. The crew will perform more than 35 science experiments and communications tests with SpaceX's Starlink satellites. The mission was initially scheduled to launch at the end of 2022, but it was postponed several times, especially due to delays in developing the space suit.

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