Innovation of the week
A Boeing spacecraft will soon be carrying astronauts to the International Space Station, and the aeronautics giant has designed a sleek new space suit for the ride, said Liz Stinson in the form-fitting Boeing Blue suit weighs only 20 pounds, about 10 pounds lighter than the bulky orange “pumpkin” suits worn by NASA shuttle crews. It has some futuristic new features, including touch-screen-compatible gloves so astronauts can operate tablets loaded with procedures and checklists, and vents that let water vapor out—but not air—keeping the wearer cooler for longer. Boeing has dumped the old fishbowl helmet for a zip-on soft blue hood made from the same nylon as the rest of the outfit. The suits, which will be worn inside the craft, not on spacewalks, will undergo a battery of tests before they’re certified for launch next year.