NASA Spacesuit Prototype Sports Familiar Look
I don’t know if it will take astronauts to “infinity and beyond,” but NASA’s Z-1 prototype spacesuit redesign will certainly draw comparisons to the gear donned by Toy Story character Buzz Lightyear with its bubble top and distinctive green trim.
NASA just completed a round of reduced gravity testing of the suit, which would replace the current EMU spacesuit. The new suit has a hatchback, which should make it easier for wearers to get it on and off. It can also be attached directly to the exterior of a rover or space vehicle, which will allow astronauts to directly exit a craft rather than using an airlock.
The Z-1 also continuously removes carbon dioxide from breathing air, which will eliminate the need for having canisters of lithium hydroxide to absorb it. Newly designed joints and bearing should improve mobility.
The new suit is the first in a series being developed under the Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) suit project. It’s serving as a test bed for future suit development. This is the first major prototype suit to be tested since 1992.
A vacuum-compatible exploration version of the suit is expected to be ready for actual mission use after 2015.