Elon Musk commissioned renowned superhero costume designer to create SpaceX spacesuit

By Shawn Knight ยท 48 replies
May 4, 2016
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  1. SpaceX recently announced plans to send an unmanned spacecraft to Mars by 2018. The aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company ultimately wants to send humans to the distant Red Planet in the not-too-distant future.

    When that happens, founder Elon Musk wants them to arrive in style which means, not just any old spacesuit will do. Rather than enlist the help of aerospace experts, Musk commissioned Hollywood costume designer Jose Fernandez to create an iconic spacesuit for SpaceX astronauts.

    In an interview with Bleep, Fernandez said the company reached out and asked him to create a spacesuit. Unfamiliar with SpaceX, the designer originally thought it was a film. Once he realized what he’d got himself into and with just two weeks to present the suit, Fernandez conceded that he simply couldn’t do it that quickly but may be able to design a helmet.

    According to Fernandez, Musk had four other companies working on bids but he apparently “hated” everything except for the helmet. Six months later, the two had come up with a suit that Musk approved which is currently being reverse-engineered by SpaceX to make it functional for space travel.

    Fernandez said the suit had to be practical but it also needed to look great. When astronauts put the suit on, they want them to look better than they did without it, kind of like a tuxedo.

    The interview was conducted a few months back but slipped under the radar until Fernandez's involvement with the project was mentioned in a recent video from Tested.

    Fernandez got started in the film industry in 1989 as a sculptor for the movie Gremlins. Since that time, he's worked on X-Men films, the Spiderman series and multiple Batman films. Interestingly enough, he's responsible for the Catwoman suit worn by Michelle Pfeiffer which he said was basically an S&M suit from West Hollywood that he added custom stitching to.

    Unfortunately, we probably won’t get a look at SpaceX’s suit until sometime next year at the earliest although Reddit claims it'll look like this:

    Permalink to story.

  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,664   +1,949

    That's a ridiculous claim. That suit design is just as inadequate for space exploration as it is for swimming. A spacesuit requires very serious thermal shielding and air pressure isolation, of which this one appears to have none.

    This is more like a variation of Daft Punk :)

    But hey, why not ask Marvel, they invented the slimmest spacesuit yet, one that consists of just a facial mask (ask Peter Quill), and you're good to conquer the space.


    Isn't that cool? :)

    And if somebody decides to object, they have an answer to that too:

    Last edited: May 4, 2016
    stewi0001 likes this.
  3. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,339   +1,986

    NASA is in the process of creating a trimmed down suit that allows greater flexibility and less bulk, but they are years away from deployment. No doubt that Musk is an innovator, but this looks a bit too much like sacrificing safety for appearance. Certainly not in the best interests of the crews ....
    cliffordcooley and Mandark like this.
  4. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,681   +1,080

    Eh what the heck, it won't offer any protection from the dead cold of space or the harsh environment of Mars. But hey, you'll look good!
  5. SirGCal

    SirGCal TS Maniac Posts: 365   +136

    I didn't know a good motorcycle leather set was all you needed to go into space...
  6. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,930   +758

    Well, I really, really, really hate to say this, but this is, to me, anyway, just another example of how out of touch with reality Musk can be. Who, in their right mind, would hire a comic book superhero costume designer to design a space suit which is, perhaps, one of the single most technical pieces of clothing that there can be? WTF?

    Let the man try, but Mars by 2018 is an aggressive goal. IMHO, he will never make it without disastrous consequences along the way.
  7. Lurker101

    Lurker101 TS Evangelist Posts: 820   +344

    Such a lovely quote that is being completely glossed over. But no, you guys are right. If we want to go into space, we should wear the ugliest, most restrictive bodysuit possible.
    runn67 and mosu like this.
  8. Mandark

    Mandark TS Booster Posts: 76   +22

    Musk is a big, arrogant arse hole with a BIGGER mouth and a lot of money so people think he's great.
  9. Mandark

    Mandark TS Booster Posts: 76   +22

    This is the biggest piece of **** I have ever seen. It will never work in space. He's like a giant and stupid child.
  10. Mandark

    Mandark TS Booster Posts: 76   +22

    It would be great to wear to a costume party. that's it.
  11. ThatOneGuy1

    ThatOneGuy1 TS Rookie

    So, you are pissed because a Reddit link to a SpaceX fan Instagram concept of a suit that no one has seen isn't up to your expert opinion on space exploration design. Seems like some well placed anger offering valuable feedback.
  12. Master Yeti

    Master Yeti TS Rookie

    I agree with Musk's philosophy. You need to be optimistic and ambitious. Also, he first sets a nearly impossible goal, and then works towards it. You may think of this as foolish, but this is actually the correct way to deal with projects.
    Why? Well, for example (please, the numbers are just made up), if you do any project, and you set a realistic goal of 2 years, then it will probably take ~4 years to complete. However, if you set an unrealistic goal of 1 year, it will take ~2 years to complete. It is basically a trick, to be unrealistic like that.
    Musk is a visionary, you literally envision how you want the future to be like, and then you work towards that vision. This is in my opinion the best way, albeit not always the safest. I guess a downside is looking foolish for those who do not understand it.
  13. Mandark

    Mandark TS Booster Posts: 76   +22

  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,001   +2,532

    Yeah. Although Musk's philosophy is simply keeping his face in the news at all costs. And when I say costs, those are always absorbed by someone else.

    Here we have a piece of crap which panders to Musk's super sized, super hero ego, can't possibly contain enough of any current insulation for doing work on Mars, and we haven't yet gotten to the part about lacking the necessary radiation protection.

    But you know what, it doesn't seen to have cost him anything. After all, "he's taking bids to see who he'll "allow" to produce it">

    And BTW, all that s*** about Musk not taking taxpayer money, is exactly that. Space-X only contracts, (I believe), are with the government. Where the hell do you think that money comes from, it not the taxpayers?
    Mandark likes this.
  15. Mandark

    Mandark TS Booster Posts: 76   +22

  16. Master Yeti

    Master Yeti TS Rookie

    I do not know Musk personally, and I've never seen him speak, so I have no idea what kind of person he is. But you should keep in mind that he is a business man that does what any sane business man does. It seems that the fact that he is rich clouds your judgement.
    I'm not an American, so I have no idea about taxpayer money shizzle. What I've heard is, that Musk could bring goods into space for much less than the original organizations that the U.S. government and NASA had contracts with, so I really don't know what you try to say.
    Also, the photo is merely speculation, so don't draw any conclusions. Even if this suit is what the designer made, then they still need to change it a lot (I thought this was obvious) to make it actually suitable for space/mars. But this way they can set a goal, like, ideally we would want the spacesuit to look like this. Above all, just because you don't think such a slim suit is possible, doesn't mean that future technology can actually allow this. I mean, think of all the other things that have become very slim (the very monitor you are staring at right now, for instance).

    Here I thought Americans were ambitious by nature, striving to achieve the impossible, trying to make science fiction come true, no matter how ridiculous. But the comments here make me have serious doubts about that :( Big disappointment..
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,001   +2,532

    Yeah well, when snake oil gets shot into space, I'm pretty sure will Musk be the one to put it there. Ah, cute little frowny puss. Which finger am I holding up? (y)

    That notwithstanding, Musk is from, I do believe, South Africa. Even old, white money, doesn't name its kidz "Elon" anymore here in the US. (Don't quote me on that). Hollyweird does summarily give out bizarre names to children, but they're doing it for the publicity, which brings us back to topic. Musk seeking publicity.

    Besides, these days America and Americans are getting to be bigger and bigger disappointments to a lot of people. For example, not deploying all the troupes and supplying all the weapons to combat terrorism, in order that other members of NATO can save theirs for that proverbial. "rainy day".

    Other people here from as far away as Singapore, seem determined to have their say in who I should vote for in an American presidential election.

    So, you're officially invited to design a make believe spacesuit for Musk to parade around in front of the press, on your dime of course!:p

    In the meantime, I'm going to try and determine where "visionary" ends, and "beggar" begins.

    While I'm at that, why don't you go back to reading your sci-fi comics. We here in the states need you to tell us what's possible on paper, so we can hurl hard earned money at you to make it so. :oops:
  18. howzz1854

    howzz1854 TS Evangelist Posts: 611   +94

    Musk is a visionary. although I don't claim I know the guy. but I have done quite a bit of reading and research on him. and to call him arrogant and egotistic just completely goes against everything that I've read and researched about him. in my opinion, based on my readings and research, if he wanted to be arrogant and egotistic, he would've sold Tesla long ago even before it went public. the guy put in his own personal money into the payroll down to the last dime just so his own employees could get paid and not miss a paycheck. he did that right up until the company was about to go belly up. he is the kind of guy who, unlike most people, would gamble away his money to the last dime because he believes in his unconventional visions, while the rest of the world says otherwise. those are the type of people who historically achieve the impossible. he's about as close to modern day Tony Stark Iron Man as it gets. While Tony Stark character is arrogant, Must is unconventional and eccentric I'll give you that. but arrogant? I don't think so. if you look at any of the public interviews of documentary, he chooses his words carefully, and you can tell he thinks about his words carefully before letting it out. the guy is incredibly smart. you can tell that he is always trying to translate his words in a way that average folks can understand. if you look into the reason why he does a lot of the things that he does, it's clear that he is not in it for the money. he is doing a lot of those things because he believes the human race deserves better. in one of this interviews, he mentioned that there's a giant fusion reactor hovering above our heads, and yet we don't harness it instead keep burning fossil fuels to cloud up our planet. it never hit me, but yet it was so obvious.

    although a great visionary. I admit based on personal experience that his SpaceX company isn't the most well managed companies, nor is his SolarCity company. but like many people with great visions, they lack the skills in managing others.

    but if you look into this guy deep enough and look at his interviews and research on the guy. he is everything but arrogant and egotistic. there're plenty of those people on wall street and hollywood, but he is definitely not one of them. some of the things he says might sound jokingly too far fetched, but that's just his personality farther goes to show that he really is unlike the rest. he is the kind of visionary eccentric weirdo that this world needs right now. and frankly I think we could use a couple more of him.
    Reehahs and runn67 like this.
  19. Master Yeti

    Master Yeti TS Rookie

    Wow, seriously, you have issues man.

    Back on topic: http://news.mit.edu/2014/second-skin-spacesuits-0918
    If I understand correctly, only the helmet needs to be pressurized because the suit itself protects you against decompression. Of course, this is just a proof of concept of technology that may be used for space suits. But it goes to show, never underestimate technology.
    I don't know how that suit is supposed to deal with radiation, or maybe radiation is not a significant risk factor when standing on Mars under a shelter.
    damnthereaper and runn67 like this.
  20. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,001   +2,532

    Well, Musk is a "charismatic", and all of us have an ego.Charismatics have a far better gift for hiding theirs. As for "managing others", I've read that Musk is pretty much nothing more than a bully. If he imagines something can be done, an employee could be fired for not agreeing with him. The fact he can't do it himself, notwithstanding. So, to be a "visionary" , all you really need to do is remember a few power points, like "better batteries", or "solar power", and read Jules Vern.

    So, here's wun o' dem dare "parables" fer U to ponder; the Holy Roman Catholic Church, has done much in the way of, "good works" OTOH, a fair amount of their priests are child molesters.

    So, you'd send your kids to Catholic school, while I wouldn't.
    Mandark likes this.
  21. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,001   +2,532

    And you know this how? Because you just joined 5 minutes ago, and are a qualified psychologist? :mad:<

    And for what it's worth, the earth has damned near 20 miles of flyable (*) atmosphere to act as a radiation shield.

    Musk was on Steven Colbert recently. His solution to the problem of no water on Mars would be to nuke the polar caps. Look it up. Oh never mind, I did it for you: http://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/would-elon-musks-idea-nuke-mars-work-n425001

    (*) That means with fixed wing aircraft
    Last edited: May 4, 2016
    Mandark likes this.
  22. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +902

    What's the problem with Musk spending his money as he pleases??

    If it can make breakthroughs why are you so mad?? If he doesn't, is it your money being spent?

    I think you rage without any need to do so. Really really hope he can make it, looks cool as hell, it actually looks a bit like Oblivion (The movie) suits.
    runn67 likes this.
  23. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,001   +2,532

    No, you think I'm not entitled to an opinion which doesn't agree with yours.
    Mandark likes this.
  24. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +902

    Won't you tell me this isn't a big fat rage??
    I understand having an opinion, yet again, to rage for this is too much. Kudos for trying to change how thing works.
  25. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,001   +2,532

    What it is, is being flat out sick of Musk's circus sensationalism.

    First it was the "flying car" fiasco.

    Next, he manages to get Matsuihta to put up the money for "his" Gigafactory".

    And now he wants to blow up Mars dressed in comic book superhero spacesuits. If that's what it takes to impress you, go with God.

    EDIT: Before I forget, not being able to deliver much of anything he claims he can, anywhere near on time.
    Mandark, BSim500 and Makson like this.

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