Blue Origin launch: What will Jeff Bezos wear to space? Here's why he ditched 'spacesuit'
Compared to the likes of Tom Cruise's 'Top Gun' jumpsuit and Matt Damon's sleek spacesuit from 'The Martian', Bezos's outfit for space is unique
From Amazon CEO to a journey around space, Jeff Bezos's life is nothing short of exciting. But the 57-year-old's trip to space is made much more exciting with the typically un-NASA-like spacesuit he chose to wear. The spacesuit was revealed in a promotional video on Instagram, that sees Bezos tell the camera how “it feels good to be in the flight suit." And even though the suit is far from the usual ones we have seen, a lot of people have dubbed it ridiculous, to say the least.
Bezos' trip to space sees him joined by his brother Mark, with veteran NASA aviation pioneer Wally Funk making the 10-minute trip. A Dutch teenager called Oliver Daemen is also on board after his father paid $28 million for the ticket once the original bidder had to back out due to scheduling conflicts. Tickets for the first crewed spaceflight by Bezos' company Blue Origin were auctioned, after Bezos announced on June 7 that he will ride his own rocket into space on July 20. This comes after Bezos stepped down as the CEO of Amazon just two weeks earlier, on July 5, to pay more attention to his space company.
What is Jeff Bezos wearing to space?
Bezos's spacesuit has been compared to the shape and style of Tom Cruize's khaki jumpsuit in the action thriller 'Top Gun'. Tapered at the waist and butt, the signature blue jumpsuit has a feathered stamped on the back, which is Blue Origin's logo. There's also a rocket ship insignia patch in the front, across the chest and the Daily Beast dubs it more of a "Halloween costume for the super-rich."
The outlet reports that an unnamed scientist told them that the entire look resembles "pajamas" and doesn't come anywhere close to NASA standards. Clay Dean, chief innovation officer of Under Armour who designed Richard Branson's spacesuit back when the billionaire took his own space trip, told The Daily Beast in an email: “Style is an important aspect in everything Under Armour designs. We wanted this suit to be modern yet incorporate nostalgic elements from the classic spacesuit. The Under Armour x Virgin Galactic spacesuit helps redefine the way one might think of space apparel moving forward.”
Dean said the spacesuit “is a deep space blue, with atmospheric light blue elements and pops of gold throughout. This color pallet was inspired by an image of the sun in space, casting its rays on Earth. The Virgin Galactic flight DNA symbols are embedded along the spine, symbolizing the unity of the suit with the mission.”
Is Jeff Bezos wearing a spacesuit?
Brad Holschuh, the co-director of the Wearable Technology Lab and associate professor at the University of Minnesota also explained the definitions of a typical spacesuit in a mail to the outlet, saying: “When people think of NASA ‘spacesuits,’ there are actually two suits that might come to mind. The first is Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) which is the iconic white spacesuit that you see astronauts wearing when they are outside of their vehicle/habitat on spacewalks."
The other is the Advanced Crew Escape Suit (ACES), a bright orange emergency suit, worn only to protect the astronaut in case of a loss of pressure in the vehicle during launch, and which would only be pressurized during such an emergency and whose only purpose is to keep the crew alive,” Holschuh told the outlet. “It is not meant for (or optimized for) spacewalking activities, and would not ever (normally) be worn outside of the vehicle.”
Since passengers on commercial flights like Blue Origin's don't need to leave their vehicle during the trips. the billionaires are not technically wearing spacesuits. “The Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin ‘flight suits’ are not even pressurized garments,” Holschuh said. “They are like the blue jumpsuits worn by astronauts during training on the ground— and may be worn on flights as ‘performance wear’ but not for any pressurized or life support function.” The expert added that basically, “The SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic suits have chosen to design the color palettes of their suits first for aesthetic reasons, which is probably fine as they don’t plan for potential ocean landings and instead want to offer an enhanced customer experience, part of which includes outfitting the participants in futuristic garments.
What are 'flight suits'?
Speaking to NBC News, Bezos confirmed that he and his crew won't be wearing spacesuits, but flight suits instead. “With the cabin pressurized, it’s redundant; we don’t need to use spacesuits, and we’re going to be just like this,” he said during his televised appearance. Holshuh told The Daily Beast about that unlike the NASA spacesuits carefully crafted with technicalities in mind, commercial space flights are "first and foremost selling very expensive experiences. The suits are part of the experience—and a way to play up the experience is to offer the opportunity to wear futuristic-looking spacesuits while traveling to space.”
Comparing Bezos's 'spacesuit' to the sleek orange and white suits Matt Damon wore in 'The Martian', University of North Dakota's PhD student Will Green told the outlet that “[The costumes] are a representation of a futuristic spacesuit called the mechanical counter-pressure spacesuit. That’s a dream spacesuit where instead of being in a pressurized suit, you have the suit pressed on to you to provide the persistence in keeping you from expanding into a vacuous space.”