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Help NASA Choose A New Spacesuit

Every once in awhile we do a NASA story and I thought this one would be of interest for our readers. NASA is working on their next generation suit to follow on to the groundbreaking Z1 seen below.

Z1 Suit

They’d like the public’s input regarding final details on the new Z2 design developed with ILC (manufacturers of the famed Integrated Combat Helmet). The Z1 prototype has a soft upper torso, while the Z-2 is made of hard composite and is also the first spacesuit to use 3-D laser scanning and 3-D printing.

Participants can choose between three design models.

Suit Choices

The first option, “Biomimicry,” is inspired by the oceans of Earth and mimics some of the bioluminescent qualities of fish and reptiles. Its signature feature is electroluminescent wire that stretches across the upper torso and becomes visible in low light.

The second design is called “Technology” and uses Luminex wire and light-emitting patches that can help crew members easily identify each other on spacewalks.

The third option is called “Trends in Society,” and with a bright color scheme mimicking athletic training gear, it’s supposed to reflect what everyday clothes might look like in the future.

Voting ends for the Z2 project April 15, and the winning design will be revealed by April 30. After that, NASA expects to have the suit completed by November and will immediately begin testing at the Johnson Space Center in Houston in vacuum chambers and a neutral buoyancy lab as well as a simulated Mars environment.

Submit your vote at jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/z2

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30 Responses to “Help NASA Choose A New Spacesuit”

  1. Via says:

    No crack about the suit looking like Buzz Lightyear?

    To infinity and beyond!

    • Riceball says:

      That was my first thought when I saw that suit, I thought it was some sort of Buzz Lightyear cosplay at first.

      • subchasr says:

        No joke, my 2 year old was looking over my shoulder and saw the pic. The only two words out of his mouth were “Buzz Lightyear.”

  2. charlie says:

    Not enough MOLLE.

    In all seriousness, wouldn’t a modular system of attaching pouches be beneficial to space explorers?

  3. Invictus says:

    Is biomimicry giving me the finger?

    • KiNEtiX says:

      Nah, he has an idea about how to make his suit look flashy like the others’.

  4. Guy Cramer says:

    The U.S. Army has selected all three to be their new Woodland, Transitional and Desert camouflage patterns.

  5. Will says:

    No OCP option?

    • Lcon says:

      Yah it is UNIVERSAL Camoflage pattern!
      they added Wallpapers… one of them as a Astronaut Duel Wielding power drills.

  6. Lcon says:

    they added Wallpapers… one of them as a Astronaut Duel Wielding power drills.

  7. Tim Mc says:

    To infinity and beyond

  8. AFDefender says:

    Shouldn’t they be designing a new vehicle to take them up? Wear Russian cosmonaut uniforms while they hitchhike.

  9. Bill says:

    I’d sub the project to Red Bull or Virgin Space. Their tech is a couple decades, or generations, ahead of the government’s.

  10. JPate says:

    Why would you need lighted patches to identify others during a spacewalk? Is there really that many people outside walking in space at the same time?

  11. JoVaz says:

    I don’t see why they wouldn’t get with the RedBull Stratos team and use the same suit Felix used for the 127,000 ft jump. Without knowing the specifics, it looks to me like a spacesuit that could be used in…..wait for it…..space! I agree with Bill’s comment above, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Air Force and/or NASA had a few reps sitting in the back of the room collecting data when Felix did the jump.

  12. NP says:

    They all look so tacky… like they’re from some sci-fi movie made in the 80s…

  13. Mike Nomad says:

    Maybe I am looking at this wrong, but, who gives a flip what the public thinks is a good idea? How many of them design space suits for a living? This is a product where form most likely should follow function.

    While they are at it, why not solicit public input on what the next camouflage patterns should be and which branches of the armed forces should adopt which ones? All they need is a snappy website, and they would have it all sorted out in 6 to 8 weeks, tops.

  14. AbnMedOps says:

    Where are the hajib and burka models to synch up with NASA’s change of mission?

  15. Exploriment says:

    What does the average person out there know about space suit design? Why would the opinion of a yokel like me matter? And given that the information given is little more than a cursory look at the appearance of any of these, how could anyone provide an opinion that is worth anything? This is the lowest common denominator of American Idol being applied to something as crucial as the design of a suit meant to protect those going into outer space. This is a shallow popularity contest.

    This nonsense is too goofy to be believed: “The third option is called “Trends in Society,” and with a bright color scheme mimicking athletic training gear, it’s supposed to reflect what everyday clothes might look like in the future.”

  16. MooCowBang says:

    Why are we even debating this? Didn’t Dear Leader Obama shut down our space program?

  17. Sal says:

    What happened to the biosuit?

    http://mvl.mit.edu/EVA/index.html

  18. Booya says:

    Which one works best for the door gunners? Wait a sec, space shuttle door gunners don’t require a suit do they? The beards make them invincible!

  19. Gef says:

    As Sal said, what happened to the MIT BioSuit™ system – Dava Newman’s mechanical counter- pressure suit concept, that was meant to replace bulky traditional ‘balloon’ suits?

    • Lcon says:

      Not ready yet. The Bio suit would require a much stronger fabric and compression technology then that is ready to go, Besides the best place for that suit is on mars, these suits are for near orbit.