Jared Isaacman inside a Dragon mockup wearing the new EVA Suit with the helmet down. Credits: SpaceX

SpaceX Unveils Revolutionary Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Suit

SpaceX debuts advanced EVA suit for Polaris Dawn Mission, pioneering commercial spacewalks and enhancing astronaut safety and mobility

SpaceX has unveiled on May 4th, 2024 – May the 4th be with you – its highly anticipated Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Suit, marking a significant milestone in the history of the company.

The announcement came as part of the preparations for Polaris Dawn”, a revolutionary mission announced back in 2022, as a part of the Polaris Program. Spearheaded by Jared Isaacman and SpaceX, the Polaris Program aims to propel human spaceflight capabilities forward while simultaneously championing noble causes on Earth.

Jared Isaacman inside a Dragon mockup wearing the new EVA Suit with the helmet down. Credits: SpaceX
Jared Isaacman inside a Dragon mockup wearing the new EVA Suit with the helmet down. Credits: SpaceX

Polaris Dawn, the inaugural mission of the program, is slated for launch no earlier than the summer of 2024. This five-day mission will see the crew conducting SpaceX’s inaugural Extravehicular Activity, commonly known as a spacewalk, with the Crew exiting from the Dragon spacecraft to the outer space for the first time.

Notably, this will also mark the first commercial astronaut spacewalk and the unprecedented occurrence of four astronauts venturing into the vacuum of space simultaneously.


3D-Printing, Heads-Up Displays and a lot more…

The success of the spacewalk is linked to the newly developed EVA suit, an evolution of the Intravehicular Activity (IVA) suit, currently used on Dragon human spaceflight missions.

“The EVA suit includes new features and mobility upgrades from the Intravehicular Activity (IVA) suits flown on every Dragon mission to-date. IVA suits will pressurize and save the crews’ lives in the event of an emergency, but the EVA suit will facilitate nominal operations at vacuum outside of the capsule,” said Stu Keech, SpaceX’s VP of Dragon.

Engineered with mobility as a paramount consideration, the EVA suit integrates new materials, with “flame-resistant” stretch fabric, new fabrication techniques, and innovative joint designs to afford astronauts greater flexibility in pressurized environments, while ensuring comfort during unpressurized scenarios.

The suit’s 3D-printed helmet features an externally “copper and indium tin oxide coated” visor, with an anti-fog treatment to mitigate glare during EVAs. Complementary to that is a cutting-edge Heads-Up Display (HUD) and camera system providing real-time data on pressure, temperature, and humidity within the suit.

To create the suit, the SpaceX Team also used “borrowed” materials from other programs. Specifically, the boots are constructed from the same thermal material “used on Falcon’s interstage, and the Dragon Capsule’s trunk.” According to the company, these boots will provide thermal capability at both high and low temperatures in the vacuum of space.

Furthermore, enhancements geared towards enhancing reliability and redundancy have been incorporated, including additional seals and pressure valves to uphold suit pressurization and crew safety. Additionally, “spiral zippers” allow the suit to be easily put on, and also taken off.

The scalability of the EVA suit’s design is a pivotal feature, according to SpaceX, facilitating customization to accommodate diverse body types as part of the company’s mission to democratize access to space.

Although the Polaris Dawn mission represents the maiden voyage of the SpaceX EVA suit in low-Earth orbit, its destiny extends far beyond our planetary confines. The vision of establishing a lunar base and a Martian colony necessitates the development of a scalable suit design capable of meeting the demands of “millions” of future astronauts.


The Polaris Dawn Mission

Apart from the new EVA suit, the Polaris Dawn Mission promises a wealth of scientific discovery and technological advancement. Utilizing the Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft’s maximum capabilities, the mission aims to fly higher than any Dragon mission to date, and achieve the highest Earth orbit ever attained.

Orbiting through portions of the Van Allen radiation belt, Polaris Dawn will conduct significant research to deepen our understanding of spaceflight’s impact on human health.

The Polaris Dawn Crew inside the SpaceX's Dragon mockup wearing the new EVA spacesuit with the helmet down. Credits: SpaceX
The Polaris Dawn Crew inside the SpaceX’s Dragon mockup wearing the new EVA spacesuit with the helmet down. Credits: SpaceX

Noteworthy among the mission objectives is, as said before, the first-ever commercial extravehicular activity using SpaceX-designed EVA suits. This will happen at approximately 700 kilometers above the Earth.

Furthermore, the Polaris Dawn crew will pioneer Starlink laser-based communications in space, laying the groundwork for future interplanetary communication systems.

Other scientific investigations onboard will encompass a spectrum of disciplines, including ultrasound studies to monitor venous gas emboli, research on the effects of space radiation on biological systems, and the establishment of a long-term Biobank for multi-omics analyses.

We have an article dedicated to the Polaris Dawn mission, you can read it clicking here.


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Edoardo Giammarino

Edoardo Giammarino

Co-Founder & CEO. Drummer and Red Cross Volunteer, born in 1997. I like analog photography and videomaking. Firmly music-addicted.

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