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SpaceX's spacesuits are getting design input from Ironhead Studio (reddit.com)
65 points by manaskarekar on May 4, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 20 comments

>SpaceX, the company run by Elon Musk, reached out to me to ask if I would create a space suit. I didn’t know what SpaceX was and I thought it was a film. Then I realized it’s an actual space program.

We live in fairly interesting times it seems.

> I worked with him for six months and at the end of that, we created a suit that they are now reverse-engineering to make functional for flight.

Form over function is a pretty bold move. Clearly Elon is greatly invested in SpaceX's image. The inside of the Dragon looks like a sci-fi prop as well. Not sure if this actually has any real benefit for him. Just seems like you're shoving engineers into boxes they don't need to be in. On the other hand, when your ultimate goal is space tourism/civilian space then Apple-like marketing and image probably aren't optional. Its just odd for this long-time space watcher to start seeing industrial design and costume design be part of something that was usually a strictly nuts and bolts affair.

I suspect the space tourism market will have a lot in common with the luxury car market. People want their creature comforts and eye-candy it seems.

There's also a little confidence imparted by a smooth, modern UI.

While super dependable, proven, spacecraft, the current Soyuz ferries are closer to U-boats inside: purely functional, clunky, and claustrophobic with exposed plumbing, wiring, and dated avionics.

You want exposed plumbing and wiring. That makes them easily accessible, easier to see what's broken and easier to fix.

This is why military ships do not hide plumbing and wiring behind wall panels.

Yeah I guess I should have qualified that. Nontechnical, paying passengers are easily wowed by glass cockpits and hidden workings.

They're also wowed by a flashy web UI without knowing what's inside.

I'm very skeptical of glass cockpits in general, and I suspect anyone who's used an older android device, or any touch screen when your hands are moist/in gloves / cold would be as well.

Glass Cockpit != touch screen

eg: Garmin 1000, Avidyne

Good point that was the wrong term on my part.

A part of me is anxious that all this touch screen stuff is less reliable than old fashioned controls and we'll have a F-35-like problem with SpaceX's more progressive ideas: too much new stuff all at once that's not battle tested meaning delays, issues, workarounds, risk, etc.

I like to think there's a middle-ground between the Space Shuttle's cockpit and the Dragon design. Falling back to old school switches and displays should be an option I suppose.

I heard a rumor that the touch screens are all on something like velcro, and can quickly be removed and old-school mechanical switches are underneath. No idea if it's true, but I guess that's the sort of middle ground you're talking about?

Yeah, I'm assuming the wall panels come off or something and those touchscreens are just a nice UI to a more mechanical system. I just can't imagine relying on touchscreens for space travel.

Switches also have another advantage: you can use them in limited visibility situations. Also, good luck hitting the right spot on a touch screen during ANY kind of high-G situation. Terrible idea.

The only thing I see when I see a macbook is "impossible to maintain or adjust".

When motivating people who are not engineers appearances become increasingly important as having a strong story with impressive props will just make everything so much easier. Facts backed up with propaganda are a stronger influence than just mere facts.

I think it makes sense given the overarching mission of SpaceX. Their primary long-term goal is to get a self-sustaining colony set up on Mars. Getting that done will require a lot of people willing to uproot their lives and move to another planet, so making the entire process as cool and glamorous as possible is going to do a lot to help push that forward.

This kind of thinking mirrors Musk's strategy at Tesla: it's much easier to get people to step outside the box if doing so seems novel and exciting. Thus, we have cars with motorized door handles that extend and retract on command, and space capsules with big shiny touch screens.

Going to Mars is no enough you have to do it in Style.

PR is an important part of a space program; especially one so bold. The Space Shuttle became a symbol for things other than its designed mission. This suit may be seen by billions of people and represent ideals and dreams on a worldwide scale.

Literally who? Apparently they design costumes for movies.

> Literally who?

Funnily enough, the same thing that they asked when SpaceX approached them.

Do most HN visitors know who they are? This title could have been better is what I was trying to (crudely) get across.

Blame HN's short title limits, or an insufficiently creative submitter - the Reddit title actually explains who they are.

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