Elon Musk shares first photo of SpaceX's sleek new spacesuit
More photos expected in coming days
SpaceX's highly anticipated foray into spacesuits that will be worn by astronauts en route to the International Space Station – and possibly beyond – has finally arrived.
News 6 partner Florida Today reported that CEO Elon Musk took to Instagram early Wednesday morning to release the first teaser image of the company's futuristic spacesuits, which appear to feature a mostly white palette that sharply contrasts with gray segments and accents.
Musk said it was "incredibly hard" to balance function and aesthetics for the hardware that will fulfill one of SpaceX's core obligations to NASA's Commercial Crew Program.
"Worth noting that this actually works (not a mockup)," Musk, also CEO of energy company Tesla, said. "Already tested to double vacuum pressure."
More photos and details are expected over the next few days.
If timelines hold, SpaceX could launch astronauts on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral as soon as 2018, marking the first time humans have launched from U.S. soil since the final flight of space shuttle Atlantis in July 2011.
SpaceX could also use the spacesuits – or at least portions of them – for trips around the moon and, eventually, the company's ultimate goal of Mars colonization.
SpaceX was selected by NASA as a commercial crew partner under a $2.6 billion contract and has successfully delivered supplies and science experiments to the station under the separate Commercial Resupply Services program 11 times.
Aerospace giant Boeing, also contracted for the Commercial Crew Program at $4.2 billion, announced its version of a spacesuit earlier this year. Named Starliner, the modern suits feature plenty of blue, sneaker-like boots and Velcro.
Boeing could also launch astronauts to the ISS on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral as soon as 2018.
Copyright 2017 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.