Speculative Fashion: A Space Suit for Life Outside Earth
When humans inhabit outer space in order to survive, they will need a streamlined and protective space suit that not only protects their bodies but also needs to be affordable to manufacture, is up to technological standards, and fashionable so people will want to wear this outfit, in turn promoting safety.
This solution proposes a two-layered spacesuit with a focus on the development of the inner-first layer. The first layer will incorporate a cooling and pressure layer that will be worn throughout one’s entire time in space.
Research, Sewing, Graphics
Outer Space Environment
A total of 19 people were interviewed. Of that number, 6 were knowledgeable within the aerospace and physics field and 13 (who did not have a background in these fields) were interviewed about their thoughts on space habitation and travel. The mention ofsci-fi films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Martianamongst other relational movies and sources of inspirationwere mentioned in parallel to spacesuits and the future. Inaddition, spacesuits from Virgin Galactic and SpaceX wereincorporated in the interviews as examples of what spacetourism companies are designing for their customers.
Areas of Focus
These layers were chosen specifically because they can be improved. The liquid cooling layer should be safer and have a more convenient way of cooling a wearer that does not involve heavy materials being shipped into space such as water. Second reason is yes, the current suits provide enough pressure but by inflating the suit, bulkiness is created and forces the wearer to exert unnecessary energy to move inside of it. Thirdly, human waste should not be sitting next to, close to, or directly against the human body to prevent infections.
Function/Safety: The ultimate goal of this project is to create the inner layer to a two part suit that would be able to protect the wearer from instances of depressurization and heatstroke. Making sure their bodies are protected---that is priority #1.
Aesthetics: this should be a suit someone would want to don in outer space. A key focus is to keep the design appropriately futuristic--something that is not seen on Earth, but also adds to the experience and excitement of going into outer space.
Comfort: this includes maintaining hygienic conditions. It is important to attempt to pull waste away from the body.
At this stage,I decided to scrap the elastic bands, and go for a full bodysuit, for manufacturing reasons---With a bodysuit, it would be easier to sew a form fitting outfit because of the flexibility presented by the spandex or stretchy material.
Left: The first round of prototypingfocused on the pattern andconstruction of the pressurelayer. In addition, black clothwas pinned to areas wherethe cooling elements will sit.
Right: Focused on refining theshape and placement ofthe cooling pads andwaste management.
Construction of final prototype
During the construction of the final prototype, I decided to use athletic spandex to mimic the pressure layer. Red thread was sewn in organic lines to mimic the memory shape alloy for that tighter, pressurized fit. And the cooling system incorporated peltier coolers with a hard case over them to protect from damage. But eventually this idea was scrapped due to the boring nature of the geometric shapes since it did not reflect the excitement of space travel.