Lanzamiento de la NASA y SpaceX / Elon Musk said he spent 3 to 4 years working on SpaceX’s new spacesuits

Cómo son los nuevos trajes inspirados en superhéroes que utilizan los astronautas de la nave Crew Dragon.

Si vas a viajar en una misión que cambiará la historia de la exploración espacial, más vale que te vistas para la ocasión.

Esa es la premisa de SpaceX, la compañía creada por Elon Musk que este sábado realizó con éxito el lanzamiento de la cápsula Crew Dragon con dos astronautas de la NASA a bordo.

La nave Crew Dragon de SpaceX es como una suerte de taxi contratado por la NASA para que lleve a sus astronautas Doug Hurley y Bob Behnken hasta la Estación Espacial Internacional.

¿Y Hurley y Behnken van vestidos para la ocasión?

Diseño de película
Lo más evidente es que el atuendo de SpaceX es totalmente diferente a los de color naranja que utilizó la NASA durante la era de los transbordadores, más conocidos como los “trajes calabaza”.

Al mejor estilo futurista y cinematográfico, a los trajes de Hurley y Behnken se les conoce como los trajes Starman (Hombre estrella).

Y no es casualidad que parezcan salidos de una película.

Los Starman son obra de Jose Fernandez, un diseñador de vestuarios muy conocido en Hollywood que ha creado atuendos para películas como “Capitán América”, “La mujer maravilla” y “Los 4 fantásticos”.

Según cuenta Fernandez en una entrevista con el portal Bleeb, durante el proceso de diseño Musk solía decir que “cualquier persona se ve mejor en un esmoquin, no importa su talla ni su forma”.

El traje “te hace ver heroico”, dice Fernandez en la entrevista.

En la NASA ya están familiarizados con la moda SpaceX.
“A SpaceX le gusta verse ultracientífico, como de ciencia ficción”, le dice a BBC Mundo Steve Payne, director de integración de lanzamientos de la NASA, quien es uno de los líderes de la misión de la Crew Dragon.

“Así funciona SpaceX, les gusta verse bien”.

Trajes asiento
Pero ¿qué tienen de especial los trajes Starman?

Una vez el diseño de Fernandez estuvo listo, los ingenieros de SpaceX se pusieron manos a la obra para convertirlo en un traje funcional de última tecnología.

Payne advierte que aunque el diseño es radicalmente diferente, en esencia los trajes de SpaceX cumplen la misma función que los calabaza de la década pasada.

Los Starman están hechos a la medida y sirven para que, en caso de una despresurización, los astronautas puedan respirar hasta llegar a la Tierra.

Los trajes también garantizan que tengan suficiente oxígeno y regulan la temperatura.

Los ingenieros de SpaceX consideran que los trajes en realidad son parte de la nave Crew Dragon. Por eso les llaman “trajes asiento”.

A través de un cable, el traje se conecta a los asientos para permitir las comunicaciones y el paso del aire. Los cascos se fabricaron con impresoras 3D y tienen incorporado un micrófono. Los guantes permiten manejar la pantalla táctil de la nave.

También son resistentes al fuego y a fuertes impactos.
Los Starman, sin embargo, solo sirven para estar dentro de la cápsula Crew Dragon y no pueden usarse para hacer caminatas espaciales.

Ante la curiosidad que han causado los trajes que este sábado vistieron Hurley y Behnken, el miércoles la NASA publicó un tuit en tono de broma en el que aclaraba que los Starman “no están a la venta en las tiendas”.

Elon Musk said he spent 3 to 4 years working on SpaceX’s new spacesuits

He hopes the design gets kids ‘fired up’ about astronauts

Though the NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley weren’t able to launch on Wednesday because of poor weather, they did get a chance to show the world SpaceX’s sleek new spacesuits.

The rocket company’s first crewed launch, which has been pushed back to Saturday, will mark the first time NASA astronauts have launched in an American spacecraft since 2011. It will also be the first time people have ever flown a commercially developed spaceship.

Elon Musk’s company worked with NASA to develop the black-and-white, form-fitting one-piece suits, as well as the spaceship overall, called Crew Dragon. The suits are designed to plug into the capsule’s seats.

“I personally spent a lot of time — it took us three, almost four years to design these suits that both look good and work well,” Musk said during NASA’s live coverage of the launch attempt on Wednesday.

A focus on form and function
Spacesuits are essentially complex, personalized, human-shaped spacecraft — they must be comfortable for the astronauts to wear during long flights inside small spacecraft while protecting them from changes in oxygen levels and pressure.

Musk has focused on the appearance of SpaceX’s suits since the company began designing them several years ago.

The New York Times reported that Musk tapped Jose Fernandez, a costume designer for superhero movies such as “Batman v Superman,” “The Fantastic Four,” “The Avengers,” “X-Men II,” among others, to create a prototype.

Fernandez told Bleep magazine in 2016 that Musk wanted the suits to stand out. “When people put this spacesuit on, he wants them to look better than they did without it, like a tux,” Fernandez said. “You look heroic in it.”

  • SpaceX designed new spacesuits for NASA astronauts to wear on the rocket company’s Crew Dragon spaceship.
  • The company’s first crewed launch was originally scheduled for Wednesday but has been pushed back to Saturday. It will be the first time an American spacecraft has carried astronauts since 2011.
  • SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Wednesday that he worked on the suits for “three, almost four years.”
  • The suits plug into the Crew Dragon’s seats and are customized to fit the individual astronaut.

Musk elaborated on that idea on Wednesday.
“You see the spacesuits in the movies — they look good, they don’t work well,” he said. “You can make a spacesuit that works, but it doesn’t look good, because fundamentally it’s a pressure suit that has to survive in a vacuum.”

But Musk said he wanted to design a spacesuit to inspire kids to become astronauts and don the uniform themselves — to “get them fired up,” he said.

“Everyone should be excited that this is a thing made by humans, for humans,” Musk added.

The suits were made in Hawthorne, California, in the same building as SpaceX’s rockets. Each one is tailored to the crew member. They’re designed to be a single piece, with specialized parts.

“A single connection point on the suit’s thigh attaches life support systems, including air and power connections,” NASA said in a press release. “The helmet is custom manufactured using 3D printing technology and includes integrated valves, mechanisms for visor retraction and locking, and microphones within the helmet’s structure.”

The suits have touchscreen-compatible gloves that enable the astronauts to pilot the Crew Dragon, whose control panel is touchscreen-only.

These spacesuits are different from the ones worn on spacewalks outside the space station. For those, astronauts use NASA’s Extravehicular Mobility Units, which are designed to work for eight to 10 hours in a full vacuum like space and protect astronauts from dangerous radiation.

The first time the SpaceX suit will be worn by a human in space
The SpaceX spacesuits have been put to the test twice before.

One was on the dummy at the wheel of the Tesla that SpaceX launched into space on its Falcon Heavy rocket in 2018.

Another was on the dummy called Ripley that flew aboard the Crew Dragon when it completed its uncrewed Demo-1 test flight last year.