Taking into account the extreme conditions spacewalk suits must withstand to protect our astronauts, participants were challenged to design a suit that is instantly recognisable for ESA astronauts. The competition placed an emphasis on ESA’s visual identity and branding rather than the technical details, and the competition was open to everyone interested in space and design.
Over 90 ideas were received, and a jury of exploration experts, including ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, reviewed the proposals. Based on criteria including branding and creativity while maintaining realism, the ESA jury shortlisted 19 entries, and selected five winners.
Visiting the European Astronaut Centre
The five winners were invited to a celebratory event at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) near Cologne, Germany, for a tour of the site. The day included presentations on ESA’s Terrae Novae exploration activities and an opportunity for the winners to present their ideas to EAC staff and connect with ESA experts.
“As one of the 10 jury members, it was great to see the creativity of these European space enthusiasts. There are many interesting aspects in their spacesuit design ideas which even positively surprised us sometimes,” says Hervé Stevenin, head of EVA and parabolic flight training at the European Astronaut Centre. “Watching them present what they believe a first ESA extra-vehicular spacesuit for astronauts could look like triggered our imagination to visualise this possible future key element of ESA’s space ambitions to put Europe at the forefront of space exploration.
I am convinced that the time will come in the next decades when an ESA astronaut will wear a European spacesuit to further explore the surfaces of Moon and Mars. With this event at the European Astronaut Centre, our imagination made one small step in this thrilling direction.”
The jury is now working on merging elements from submitted ideas to create an ESA-branded spacesuit design. This design could, in first instance, be used to produce replica suits for exhibitions or filmmakers, to educate and inspire people about space exploration and ESA activities in this domain. Later, work could include using the designs to build training suits for ESA projects such as CAVES and Pangaea, or the LUNA facility. Maybe in the future, ESA will develop its own functional space suit, and this competition will have marked a first step on one of the paths ESA could take to develop its autonomous way to space.
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