SpaceX allowed a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with their Crew Dragon Capsule and Spacesuit.
On Friday Sept. 8, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk posted a photo on Instagram of a spacesuit-clad person standing next to the Dragon capsule. The company is developing that spacecraft to fly people to and from the International Space Station (ISS), among other destinations (SpaceX aims to launch paying customers on a trip around the moon in the near future, for example).
It’s the second glimpse of SpaceX’s space suit that Musk has given fans in the last couple of weeks. The first picture only showed the suit from the torso upward, but this image reveals the design of both the gloves and the boots, as well as the padding used for the pants.
SpaceX holds a NASA contract to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS. The company already makes resupply runs to the orbiting lab for NASA, using the robotic, cargo version of Dragon. The first crewed test flights are scheduled to begin next summer.
The suits that SpaceX has designed are pressure suits, meant to be worn by astronauts while riding inside the Crew Dragon. They’re primarily needed in case there’s an emergency scenario during flight; if the spacecraft suddenly depressurizes, the suits will keep the astronauts alive until they can get to safety. They are not created to be worn in the vacuum of space. For spacewalks, astronauts will continue to use the large, protective, recognizable white suits that are stored aboard the space station. Each suit weighs about 9 kilograms, including an integrated shoe, compared with the 13.6 kg of NASA’s ACES suit.
Musk has promised to release more information about the suits in the “days to come,” but so far we know very few specifics. For now, SpaceX fans will just have to entertain themselves with the two photos released so far on SpaceX’s Instagram.