Space Suit of the Week

Space Suit Of The Week

Space Suit Of The Week

Space Suit Of The Week

Felix Baumgartner plans to do what no man has ever done before at heights no man has experienced: he is going to become the first man to break the sound barrier with a free fall leap. He will jump with only his pressure space suit to shelter him as he soars into the history books at a record breaking 720 miles per hour.

Strapped into a suit sponsored by the energy drink that promises to give you wings, Red Bull, forty three year old former Austrian paratrooper Baumgartner will jump a record breaking 22 miles above the earth this Sunday, October 14th. Although the jump was originally planned for this past Wednesday, if successful the jump this weekend will be 65 years to the day that mankind first made the giant leap over the sound barrier. Flyboy Chuck Yeager aboard a rocket beast X-1 named Glamorous Glennis after his wife was the first man to crush this barrier on October 14, 1942.

The dive to earth will take just over five minutes before his parachute opens to cushion him home. Until then he has only his full pressure suit. Baumgartner’s suit resembles that of a shuttle astronaut. It has four layers: a comfort liner, a gas container fitted to his body, netting to keep the aforementioned layer in place, and an insulating exterior shell. The suit is unique in its degree of maneuverability. This trait is critical in the mission’s success. Andrew Zaleski wrote the following in the July/August issue of The Atlantic:

And this is where Baumgartner’s suit represents such a leap forward. If he’s to have a decent shot at surviving the fall, his suit must be maneuverable. He needs to go from a pencil dive, when he first hops off his capsule’s platform, into a head-down “delta” position, with his arms at his side. If he flubs that hop–if he pushes off with too much force, say–he could tumble into an uncontrolled spin, the force of which could kill him. And so his getup, unlike NASA space suits, which come in 12 standard sizes, is custom-tailored.

When Fearless Felix makes his leap, his suit, helmet and gloves are his only protection from a thin atmosphere and chillingly cold temperatures.

His blood could boil or gravity could crush him into the ground, but his biggest fear derives from his one source of protection: overwhelming claustrophobia. During his leap as well as the two-hour assent to record heights he will be in single radio communication with the individual that helped him conquer this fear: Joe Kittinger. Eighty four year old former command pilot Kittinger who previously set the free fall world record in 1960 with a 19 mile leap comments the new suit,  “Comparing my equipment to what Felix has is like comparing a Model T to a 2020 Ferrari.”

Alana Zimmer

October 12, 2012 / By

Space Suit of the Week

Emilio Pucci - Space Bubble Helmet - Braniff International Airlines

Emilio Pucci - Space Bubble Helmet - Braniff International Airlines

Emilio Pucci - Space Bubble Helmet - Braniff International Airlines

Travel in style, always.

Emilio Pucci designed the Space Bubble Helmet for Dallas-based Braniff Airlines in 1965. These glass bubble domes were designed to keep flight attendants hairstyles from getting ruined on the windy tarmac. Pucci designed the attendents uniforms with the same flair and bright patterns that he is known for. Braniff wanted to create a new way of flying and branded itself as the rebel airline; Pucci was hired by Wells, Rich, Greene along with New Mexico architect Alexander Girard and shoe designer Beth Levine to design the “End of the Plain Plane” campaign. The air fleet was painted in nine different colors with bright Herman Miller interiors that matched the vibrancy of its airline crew.

Emilio Pucci - Space Bubble Helmet - Braniff International Airlines

The Braniff brand became a new jet-setting lifestyle. The Pucci space helmet, while being sophisticated and elegant, was playful in an era where headwear was dominated by military caps & wool pill boxes (a la Jackie Kennedy). It gave color and vibrancy to a jet-setting, moon-landing era. Similarly, Pucci designed the Apollo 15 patch of three stylized birds flying over the lunar surface – further proof that there is nothing plain to human flight.

Alana Zimmer

October 5, 2012 / By

Space Suit of the Week

Space Suit of the Week: Dominik Smialowski's "The Pilot’s Melancholy"

Space Suit of the Week: Dominik Smialowski's "The Pilot’s Melancholy"

Space Suit of the Week: Dominik Smialowski's "The Pilot’s Melancholy"

Space Suit of the Week: Dominik Smialowski's "The Pilot’s Melancholy"

Dominik Smialowski casts a skyfarer in the vast green and lush Icelandic landscape with his The Pilot’s Melancholy. The astronaut is all alone, isolated with only the grey, cloudy sky above to comfort him. His suit, intricate with its ties, buckles and features resembles an exoskeleton–a plush shell harded to protect against the elements and possibly loneliness.

Thank to reader Travis for passing these along.

Alana Zimmer

September 14, 2012 / By

Space Suit of the Week

David Penela - Cosmonaut

David Penela - Cosmonaut

At the end of an incredibly long work week, I had a seat at my neighborhood bar. The young man sitting to my right had stars shaved into one side of his mohawk. I began comparing his hair to the style of JPL’s Flight Director Bobak Ferdowsi and how he wore it during the landing of Curiosity. This hair-do opened the floodgates and suddenly I was babbling about the Rover, Mars, the future of NASA, space exploration in the United States, blah blah… I’m sorry stranger that I sat down next to you. Mars is incredible. And Curiosity is beginning to share it all with us – more in depth than Spirit or Opportunity was ever able to do.

David Penela’s Cosmonaut series is subtly lovely. The cosmonauts, donned in their NASA Mercury-like suits, scale the red planet. Their lips are the same red as the soil, they are part of the landscape. The cosmonauts belong on the martian soil.

Alana Zimmer

September 7, 2012 / By

Space Suit of the Week

Space Suit of the Week

Space Suit of the Week

With the passing of Neil Armstrong this past week, I have spent much time looking through archival footage of Neil and his gang. I wanted to share with you something spectacular, something sprinkled with cosmic moon dust. The above panoramas of the moon are courtesy of USRA’s Lunar and Planetary Institute. Twelve men have walked on the moon. This is what it was like inside their space suits.Take a peek at as many Apollo Surface Panoramas that you can squeeze into your lunch break. These high-resolution images have such high quality that you can almost see your own breath steaming on the glass of your own space suit.

Alana Zimmer

August 31, 2012 / By

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