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Elon Musk just hired the Iron Man costume designer to make space suits for SpaceX

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

If SpaceX - a company run by Elon Musk - has its way, the days of bulky, boring and out-of-fashion spacesuits may be a thing of the past. Musk, the man who pioneered electric cars and made them cool, may just be about to do the same for spacesuits. But first, let's back up for a minute because this isn't the only cool thing the company is doing.


Just a few days ago, SpaceX landed a reusable rocket on a robotic ocean barge for the second time on 6 May. Barely a month prior, during a space station supply run for NASA, SpaceX had, for the first time, landed a reusable rocket on a floating droneship. SpaceX wasn't sure about its latest landing because of the high altitude needed.

But the wonders never cease with SpaceX, which is why, about a week ago, Elon Musk teased its upcoming plans and they are huge. The company is planning a Mars mission in 2018 with a modified version of its Dragon spacecraft. A full, formal announcement, will come later in the year.

For now though, SpaceX's astronaut gear is getting a major upgrade. Well-known costume designer, Jose Fernandez, the man behind the costumes in Batman v Superman, Iron Man, Tron: Legacy, The Avengers and Captain America, is lending his creative bent to SpaceX.

Fernandez is using his movie, design and tech know-how to redesign SpaceX's spacesuits. For anyone wondering why Elon Musk would look towards a Hollywood costume designer, you clearly don't know Elon Musk and his Tony Stark-like persona. For Musk, Fernandez is the perfect person for the job as he wanted suits that looked "badass", according to Gizmodo.

Also read: Small step or giant leap? All you need to know about finding water on Mars

Even so, there are limitations. While spacesuits in movies can be more stylish and, in a lot of cases, cleavage-enhancing, in real life, Musk knows that functionality has to be top priority.

"Our spacesuit design is finally coming together and will also be unveiled later this year. We are putting a lot of effort into design esthetics, not just utility. It needs to both look like a 21st century spacesuit and work well."

According to an interview with Bleep Magainze, Fernandez said that he was approached by SpaceX and that the process of getting the job wasn't easy. He was told to design a suit alongside some other companies and was given a very tight deadline of two weeks.

"They had two weeks to present the suit to him and I told them I couldn't do a full suit in two weeks but that I may be able to do a helmet. There were four other companies working on bids as well and at the end of the process, he hated everything except the helmet," Hernandez told D'Marge. "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."

Fernandez continued, "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. The look they are going to unveil in the next few months is something we created here in the studio. He wanted it to look stylish. It had to be practical but also needed to look great. It's pretty bad ass."

On the other hand, the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA have also been working on new spacesuits designs and it'll be interesting to see what they come up with.

It is Musk's dream to be the first to land a manned spacecraft on Mars and if he can do so along with being in tune with the looks of the present, then nothing like it. Hopefully it doesn't go the way the new Power Rangers costumes did.

Edited by Ranjan Crasta

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First published: 10 May 2016, 8:15 IST
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a sports and tech correspondent on the speed news desk at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.