Safety of SpaceX Suits by Artist of ‘Marvel’ Fame an ‘Open Question’, Says Russian Designer

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off on 30 May 2020, marking the first US space launch in a decade since the suspension of the Space Shuttle Program. The mission ferried NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS).

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon space suits are impressively designed, but their safety level remains an open question, said Vladimir Pirozhkov, CEO of the KINETICA High Complexity Prototyping Centre at the National University of Science and Technology MISiS.

According to the renowned industrial designer, the sleek space garb developed by the celebrated Hollywood costume designer Jose Fernandez should be regarded as personal protective equipment worn en route from Earth to the International Space Station (ISS), rather than a spacesuit.

​Only time will show just how reliable the technology produced by the company headed by billionaire Elon Musk is, Pirozhkov emphasised, adding that work with the public and design have always been the strong points of American companies.

He also added that if due efforts are made, the design of Russian equipment might also be improved upon.
Earlier, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, who served as a flight engineer on the International Space Station during Expedition 23/24 and was selected along with Scott Kelly for a year-long mission aboard the ISS, stated that Russia stood to gain from the successful launch of the crewed spacecraft Crew Dragon by SpaceX.

REUTERS / Charlie Riedel

SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the Dragon crew capsule, Saturday, May 30, 2020 from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla. The two astronauts are on the SpaceX test flight to the International Space Station. For the first time in nearly a decade, astronauts blasted towards orbit aboard an American rocket from American soil, a first for a private company

He explained that having a worthwhile competitor in the space industry might provide incentive for Russian researchers to redouble their efforts in the field.

​On 30 May the United States conducted their first crewed extraterrestrial mission launch in ten years, since the suspension of the Space Shuttle Program, sending a Space X Crew Dragon capsule carrying astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station, which successfully docked with the ISS on 31 May.

Prior to that, the Atlantis shuttle was the last to fly, after which American astronauts were delivered to the ISS by Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

SpaceX is a private space company founded by entrepreneur Elon Musk. NASA hopes to use the Crew Dragon capsule to shuttle up to seven passengers to and from the International Space Station.

For the maiden flight of the crewed US extraterrestrial mission, the astronauts were suited up in gear designed by superhero movie costume designer Jose Fernandez, of Marvel and Batman fame.

​The sleek look was subsequently reverse-engineered by SpaceX to meet the functional requirements of protecting space-bound astronauts.

Elon Musk said during a NASA broadcast at a briefing at the Kennedy Space Center that humanity can be proud of its new manned spacecraft Crew Dragon.

“This ship is made by people, and humanity can be proud of this achievement. Of course, this launch will find a response among all those who are a researcher in their hearts. Emotions overwhelm me. We will now have to safely return the astronauts to Earth and make it happen again and again,” said Elon Musk.

According to the founder of SpaceX, the launch of Crew Dragon was humankind’s first step on the path to a manned programme to explore Mars.


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