The way NASA does business is changing, in the sense that they’re actually doing business now. NASA is transforming from a purely scientific agency to one that partners with private companies, as well as one that plans to send civilians into space in the not-too-distant future. Well, if NASA is going to blast civilians into space, those clunky old spacesuits astronauts have been schlepping around in for years just won’t do anymore. It’s time for space travel to get fashionable. Maybe even a bit sexy?
NASA has hired artist Ted Southern and his company Final Frontier Designs to design lightweight, cost-effective spacesuits for civilian travelers. Previously to this, Ted’s most high-profile work was probably the elaborate, glitter-covered wings you ignore during the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. He’s also designed costumes for Cirque du Soleil and Broadway. So, yes. Space is about to get fabulous.
Southern isn’t without some more serious chops, too. He and his company won a NASA contest to design a more versatile space glove back in 2007…
Could use more glitter, but not bad.
Ted can also talk a pretty mean scientific game…
“Space research and engineering is particularly challenging because of the extreme demands of the systems. Massive thermal fluctuation, demands for strength and reliability, large pressure differentials, high speed, and an imperative of low mass and low volume make building things for space really difficult. Without some creativity, we wouldn’t be able to go there at all.
My ultimate dream design for a spacesuit is a mechanical counterpressure suit. Instead of a balloon or gas bubble, which is essentially what a space suit is today, it is possible to apply pressure directly to the skin mechanically to offset the effects of the vacuum.
I think we have a place in the story of commercial space travel. I’d like to think we are contributing not just to the U.S. space heritage, but that of the world.”
Now, let’s get to work on combining Mr. Southern’s two areas of expertise. I think the effects of anti-gravity on Victoria’s Secret models is an area that requires further research.