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Now we know what SpaceX's new spacesuit looks like from head to toe.
On Friday (Sept. 8), SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk posted a photo on Instagram of a spacesuit-clad person standing next to the Dragon capsule. The company is developing that spacecraft to fly people to and from the International Space Station (ISS), among other destinations. (SpaceX aims to launch paying customers on a trip around the moon in the near future, for example.) [The Evolution of the Spacesuit in Photos]
"Astronaut spacesuit next to Crew Dragon," Musk wrote in the post.
In an Instagram post late last month, Musk gave the world its first glimpse of the sleek, black-and-white SpaceX spacesuit. But that photo was a waist-up view of an astronaut strapped inside a Crew Dragon.
SpaceX holds a NASA contract to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS. (The company already makes resupply runs to the orbiting lab for NASA, using the robotic, cargo version of Dragon.) The first crewed test flights are scheduled to begin next summer.
Boeing also won a NASA ISS crew contract; the first crewed test flights of the aerospace giant's CST-100 Dreamliner capsule could begin by August 2018, NASA officials have said.
NASA has been dependent on Russian Soyuz vehicles to take its astronauts to and from the ISS since 2011, when the agency's space shuttle fleet was retired. (The shuttle flight suits, as you may recall, were orange.)
The above-mentioned suits are all designed to help keep astronauts safe in the event of an emergency during flight. The big, bulky spacesuits made specifically for spacewalks — "extravehicular mobility units," in NASA parlance — are already aboard the ISS.