esa

Check out the Cool New Designs for Europe’s Future Spacesuits

While the European Space Agency isn’t planning to build their own spacesuits anytime soon, they want to be ready. ESA recently had the Space Suit Design Competition, allowing the public to propose designs for future European extra-vehicular activity (EVA) suits.

The competition received 90 submissions and experts selected five winners. This first design, above, was created by Oussama Guarraz, focusing on “modernity, cutting-edge technology, innovation, and sustainability.”

Below is another design, by João Montenegro.

Another of the winning designs, this one by João Montenegro. This design includes a visual chest display, an articulated neckline to enable agility in head motion, a visual chest display to indicate information to team members, a modular head-mount and fully integrated gloves and boots to avoid regolith infiltration. Credit: João Montenegro/ESA.

ESA invited all winners to an event and tour at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) near Cologne, Germany.

“I am convinced that the time will come in the next decades when an ESA astronaut will wear a European spacesuit to further explore the surfaces of Moon and Mars,” said Hervé Stevenin, Head of EVA and parabolic flight training at the EAC. “With this event at the European Astronaut Centre, our imagination made one small step in this thrilling direction.”

The five winners of ESA’s Space Suit Design Competition. Credit: ESA.

Competition encouraged the general public to imagine what a future European extra-vehicular activity (EVA) suit could look like. Each design was supposed to incorporate a few things: the extreme conditions spacewalk suits must withstand to protect our astronauts and a new type of a suit that would be instantly recognizable for future ESA astronauts.

There were a few “space suit must-haves” as seen in the image below, such as a backpack for a life support system, and a visor in the helmet. ESA said they wanted the designs to emphasize ESA’s visual identity and branding rather than the technical detail, while maintaining realism. The competition was open to everyone interested in space and design.

Rules for ESA’s spacesuit design competition. Credit: ESA

A jury of exploration included ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer. The winners of the competition presented their ideas to EAC staff including ESA’s astronaut candidates and visited the facilities where the future astronauts are currently receiving basic training.

In his proposal, Guarraz wrote, “The choice of colour for our spacesuit focuses on a palette of bright and modern colours, including electric blue, bright white, and silver grey. We chose this combination of colours to convey a message of high technology and clarity. We also added geometric patterns on the spacesuit to create a unique texture, inspired by European art designs. These motifs add a touch of elegance and originality to the spacesuit while recalling the importance of art and culture in the European identity.”

ESA’s spacesuit design competition winners at EAC: Oussama Guarraz, Alberto Piovesan, Maurizio De Vincentiis, João Montenegro, and Flavio Gentile. Credit: ESA.

ESA said the jury is now working on merging elements from submitted ideas to create an ESA-branded spacesuit design. This design could, for instance, be used to produce replica suits for exhibitions or filmmakers, to educate and inspire people about space exploration and ESA activities in this domain.

“Maybe in the future, ESA will develop its own functional space suit, and this competition will have marked a first step on one of the paths ESA could take to develop its autonomous way to space,” the space agency said.

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Nancy_A and and Instagram at and https://www.instagram.com/nancyatkinson_ut/

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