While the European Space Agency has no plans to build its own spacesuits any time soon, it wants to be ready. ESA recently held the Space Suit Design Competition, which allowed the public to submit designs for future European EVA (Extravehicular Activity) suits.
The competition received 90 entries and experts selected five winners. This first design above was created by Oussama Guarraz and focused on “modernity, cutting edge technology, innovation and sustainability”.
ESA invited all winners to an event and tour at the European Astronaut Center (EAC) near Cologne.
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“I am convinced that in the next few decades there will come a time when an ESA astronaut will wear a European space suit to further explore the surfaces of the Moon and Mars,” said Hervé Stevenin, director of EVA and parabolic flight training at the EAC. “With this event at the European Astronaut Center, our imagination has taken a small step in this exciting direction.”
The five winners of ESA’s space suit design competition. Photo credit: ESA.
The competition stimulated the general public to imagine what a future European EVA (External Vehicle Activity) suit might look like. Each design should encapsulate a few things: the extreme conditions that spacewalk suits must endure to protect our astronauts, and a new type of suit that should be immediately recognizable to future ESA astronauts.
There were a few “spacesuit must-haves” as shown in the image below, such as a backpack for a life support system and a visor in the helmet. ESA said they wanted the designs to emphasize ESA’s visual identity and branding rather than technical details, while maintaining realism. The competition was aimed at anyone interested in space and design.
ESA Space Suit Design Competition Rules. Photo credit: ESA
ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer was a member of an exploration jury. The winners of the competition presented their ideas to EAC staff, including ESA’s astronaut candidates, and visited the facilities where future astronauts are currently receiving basic training.
In his proposal, Guarraz wrote: “The choice of color for our space suit focuses on a palette of bright and modern colors, including electric blue, bright white and silver grey.” We chose this color combination to convey a message of high technology and clarity. We also added geometric patterns to the space suit to create a unique texture inspired by European art designs. These motifs add a touch of elegance and originality to the spacesuit, while also reminding us of the importance of art and culture to European identity.”
The winners of ESA’s space suit design competition at EAC: Oussama Guarraz, Alberto Piovesan, Maurizio De Vincentiis, Joao Montenegro and Flavio Gentile. Photo credit: ESA.
ESA said the jury is currently working to bring together elements from the submitted ideas to create an ESA-branded spacesuit design. For example, this design could be used to create replica suits for exhibitions or for filmmakers to educate and inspire people about space exploration and ESA activities in this area.
“Perhaps in the future ESA will develop its own functional space suit and this competition will represent a first step in one of the paths ESA could take to develop its autonomous path to space,” the space agency said.