A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Dragon spacecraft onboard, launches from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, in June 2017 SpaceX’s chief executive Elon Musk gave a sneak peek Wednesday at the California-based company’s futuristic new spacesuit.
In an Instagram post, the sleek, white material appears lighter weight than the bulky spacesuits worn by NASA astronauts, and is accented with gray stitched seams and an American flag patch on the shoulder.
The male model wearing it is seat-belted inside a spaceship, and also dons a white helmet with shaded face-shield. No details below the chest are visible.
”First picture of SpaceX spacesuit. More in days to follow,” Musk wrote.
”Worth noting that this actually works (not a mockup),” he added.
”Already tested to double vacuum pressure. Was incredibly hard to balance esthetics and function. Easy to do either separately.”
The suit could be worn by the first astronauts to ride to space on SpaceX’s upcoming Dragon crew capsules, with flights scheduled as early as next year.
SpaceX is working on a version of its Dragon cargo capsule that will be able to carry people to low-Earth orbit.
Once it does, the United States will again have access via its own spaceships to the International Space Station.
Ever since the US space shuttle program was retired in 2011 after 30 years, Americans have had to rely on Russia for rides to space aboard the Soyuz spacecraft.
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© 2017 AFP