SpaceX Just Unveiled the High-Tech Space Suits for the Polaris Dawn Mission

Astronauts, prepare for takeoff. SpaceX just unveiled groundbreaking new gear for the upcoming Polaris Dawn mission.

Over the weekend, the company shared an update on its website that the crew would be sporting a newly developed extravehicular activity (EVA) spacesuit during the historic five-day trek, which is set to include the first commercial astronaut spacewalk. The suit itself is a modified version of the Intravehicular Activity (IVA) suit that crews currently wear aboard the Dragon spacecraft for its missions, and this is the first time it will be used during low-Earth orbit. According to SpaceX, Polaris Dawn is scheduled to launch no earlier than summer 2024.

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“Building a base on the moon and a city on Mars will require millions of spacesuits,” the company wrote on its website. “The development of this suit and the execution of the spacewalk will be important steps toward a scalable design for spacesuits on future long-duration missions as life becomes multiplanetary.”

In terms of the design, the EVA suit features improved mobility and a 3-D-printed helmet with a new visor to reduce glare. In addition, the helmet includes a heads-up display and built-in camera that gives the wearer information on the suit’s pressure levels, temperature, and humidity. Of course, to ensure the crew’s safety during extravehicular activities, the suit also has added seals and pressure valves.

The launch of the private Polaris Dawn mission has been continuously delayed since the Polaris Program was initially announced in February 2022 by billionaire Jared Isaacman. The timeline has been greatly slowed due to several challenges, including the creation of the all new EVA spacesuits. “We’ve got to redesign the suit so that you actually move around in it. It’s quite hard to still be mobile in an inflated suit,” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said in a presentation posted to X (formerly known as Twitter) earlier this year.

Polaris Dawn is the first of the program’s three missions developed for human spaceflight. During the mission, the spacecraft will orbit Earth for up to five days, hoping to set the record for the highest Earth orbit ever flown. At the same time, the crew will conduct its own research on the effects of spaceflight and space radiation on human health. They will also be the first to test a laser-based communication system for SpaceX’s Starlink satellites.

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