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An orbital test flight without a crew could fly by June 2018, before a two-person crew of Boeing and NASA test pilots boards that August in their new blue flight suits. The pressurized outfits are relatively slim and sport a "Boeing Blue" color, making them quite distinct from the bulky, white spacesuits NASA astronauts use during spacewalks.

Yesterday, NASA unveiled the new space suits astronauts will wear in the Boeing Starliner on their way to the ISS - and they're icy cool. Flight tests for the Starliner with astronauts on board are expected to be begin in 2018.

Touchscreen-sensitive gloves, a helmet attached via zipper, and a sleeker design.

The royal-blue suits are 40 percent lighter than any other spacesuit, an the helmet portion is soft, like a hoodie sweatshirt.

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"The spacesuit acts as the emergency backup to the spacecraft's redundant life support systems", Richard Watson, subsystem manager for spacesuits for NASA's Commercial Crew Program said. Combined with the fact that each suit is tailor made for the pilot ensures a level of comfort that should surpass previous iterations.

An artist's depiction of a team of astronauts performing work on a space station while orbiting above the surface of Mars.

These suits will only be worn by crew members during take-off and re-entry, and will not replace the extravehicular mobility units (EMUs) that are already aboard the ISS, and used for any kind of operation that goes on outside of the ship.

Despite America's manned space program reboot getting off to a slow start, former astronaut and current director of crew and mission systems for Boeing, Chris Ferguson says he is glad things are finally taking off. If something goes wrong, the suit pressurizes immediately, according to the release. Ferguson claims that you can lie in the cockpit without any real need for external cooling, and it is comfortable enough to stand around in without developing an uncomfortable "heat load". Astronauts Eric Boe, Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley and Suni Williams have tried Boeing's new Starliner spacesuit. "Spacesuits have come in different sizes and shapes and designs, and I think this fits the Boeing model, fits the Boeing vehicle", Ferguson said. "The next time we pull all this together, it might be when astronauts are climbing into the actual spacecraft".


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