General, Research, Technology

The SpaceX suit was created by a Hollywood designer: how was it?

The end of May 2020 will go down in history becauseSpaceX became the first private company to successfully send astronauts to the International Space Station. Thousands of people from all over the world watched the live broadcast of this event and many probably noticed that the pilots of the spacecraft were not dressed in huge NASA spacesuits, but in light suits from SpaceX. In the photos they look like real heroes and this is not surprising. Space clothes were sewn by designer Jose Fernandez, who has been creating costumes for superhero movies about Batman and Spider-Man for more than 20 years. But how did a person from the film industry suddenly appear in the space industry? Let's delve into the story.

At the end of May, we all seem to be watching a film about space, but everything happens in reality

Superhero costume

It all started in 2016 when SpaceX turnedto Jose Fernandez with a proposal to take part in the competition. Participants were required to create a comfortable and beautiful suit for space travel. According to Forbes, initially Jose was not familiar with SpaceX and thought that he was asked to come up with a costume for the next science fiction film. But no - the helmet being created should not only be pleasing to the eye, but also provide the astronauts with freedom of movement and maximum safety.

Once Fernandez shared that the head of SpaceX, Elon Musk, described his vision of the SpaceX suit with the following words:

In a tuxedo, all people look great, regardless of its shape and size. Putting on a spacesuit, astronauts want to look in them much better than without them. They should look like heroes.

Experience in creating heroic images in JoseFernandez was in bulk. During his career, he managed to develop costumes for films such as Batman vs. Superman, The New Spider-Man, and Captain America: Civil War. Do you remember the luminous costumes from the fantastic action movie "Tron: Legacy"? This is also the work of Jose Fernandez.

Elon Musk is an avid lover of all that’s fantastic, so it’s not surprising that he chose Fernandez

In 2016, while working on costumes forBatman vs. Superman, Jose did the incredible thing - he allowed actor Ben Affleck to freely move his neck in a Batman costume. In all previous films about the "man - the bat," the actors were shackled in movements due to the stiffness of the superhero mask. Jose Fernandez tailored the costume in such a way that it was easier for the actor to move his neck, which probably had a positive effect on his game in the movie. He also helped actor Hugh Jackman a lot in the role of Wolverine in the X-Men films - earlier, because of a hard suit, he had difficulty climbing stairs. Rumor has it that sometimes he even needed help from the crew of the set.

Batman from the 2016 film has a really unusual costume - in previous films he was clearly smaller

Space Suit SpaceX

Most likely, it is a wealth of experience in creatingsuperhero costumes and helped the designer gain the trust of Ilon Mask. The SpaceX spacesuit, first created by Jose Fernandez, was demonstrated in 2017. Elon Musk posted the image with the upper part of the costume on his Instagram and the photo was taken with great interest. Later, the new spacesuit was evaluated for convenience by NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, who confirmed its comfort for movement. She also noted that the helmet is easily put on with a click and in general resembles a motorcycle. According to her, all previous spacesuits that she had to put on are inferior to the suit in terms of convenience.

But big and uncomfortable space suits are allstill exist. In 2024, the United States wants to dress astronauts in large xEMU suits and send astronauts to the moon. However, given the difficult conditions on Earth's satellite, the large size of the spacesuit is quite justified.

In preparation for the launch of the ship and at leastof two broadcasts, we have already seen that the SpaceX suit looks light. The suits of the 20th century, in which Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong took their first steps to the moon, looked like ancient diving suits. And SpaceX clothing, with all its patches on the elbows and other weak spots, looks simple and modern. Of particular note is the lack of heavy equipment on the surface of the suit - it is reported that the electronics are hidden in the legs.

On the left is a 17th-century diving suit, and on the left is Neil Armstrong's spacesuit. It looks bulky, right?

Protective helmet for space

Thanks to the experience gained while working onsuperhero films, Jose Fernandez created a helmet that not only provides a wider viewing angle, but also allows you to move your head more freely. There is a flexible element on the back of the helmet, which is clearly visible in a photograph taken on May 27, where astronaut Dag Hurley gets in a Tesla car to travel to the ship about to be launched. He easily tilted his head to crawl into the car door, but if he was dressed in an old NASA suit, he would hardly have tried to push his head into the passenger compartment, which would have been extremely ridiculous.

Astronaut Dag Hurley sits in a Tesla car May 27, 2020

For the created costume Jose Fernandez is quite possibleto give some kind of award, but perhaps SpaceX already paid well for the work done. The costume certainly looks beautiful, but how durable it is is still a big mystery. Foreign publications write that it is fireproof and airtight, but it would be interesting to see a crash test where the costume is tested with fire and subjected to other extreme effects.

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Perhaps soon we will see this, becausethe SpaceX team and NASA are actively sharing mission details. A few hours after the launch, the pilots of the Crew Dragon spacecraft conducted a live broadcast. They showed the world a ship control panel and talked about a plush dinosaur taken aboard. In my opinion, it turned out a very interesting material, so they invite you to read it right now.