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Wearable tech exhibit features new spacesuit

July 23rd, 2019 / By: / What's New?

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI), is giving guests a look at Boeing’s pioneering new Starliner spacesuit, a recent release from MSI announced. 

The Starliner spacesuit borrows from historic designs but uses advanced materials and new joint patterns to allow for lighter weight, enhanced flexibility and greater temperature control for astronauts. Components include a soft helmet and visor incorporated into the suit; strategically located zippers that alter the suit’s shape for sitting or standing; touchscreen-sensitive gloves and integrated shoes similar to cross-trainers. 

The suit will be tested on Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft. The company is working toward two Starliner flights in 2019, the first without a crew and the second with Boeing astronaut Chris Fergusonand NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Mike Finckeon board.

The spacesuit is part of Wired to Wearan exhibit dedicated to the future of wearable technology. MSI guests can also see the new material Boeing and University of North Dakota researchers are working on to lengthen astronauts’ time on the lunar surface. Wired to Wear’s Latest Lab will also feature samples of new material by Boeing engineer Dr. Kavya K. Manyapu, space scientist and member of the U.N. Space Generation Advisory Council.

Manyapu’s material weaves carbon nanotubes and other conductive materials into spacesuit fabric to combat lunar dust, which is sharp enough to tear through spacesuits and poses a serious risk to astronaut health due its chemical makeup. Dr. Manyapu’s material runs an electric current through the nanotubes that pushes the dust off the suit to help protect astronaut health, mitigate dust contamination and allow less wear and tear on planetary spacesuits, the release says. The material is being tested aboard the International Space Station. 

Some of the items in the exhibit’s Latest Lab have a limited engagement. They will be on display through July 31, 2019.The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, offers interactive experiences that inspire inventive genius and foster curiosity.