YKK (U.S.A.) Inc. has partnered with David Clark Company to provide the zippers for The Boeing Company’s new Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 Starliner Spacesuit. The spacesuit has been designed for wear in Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, which is being developed in collaboration with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and is designed to accommodate seven passengers, or a mix of crew and cargo, for missions to low-Earth orbit.
The new spacesuits are approximately 40 percent lighter than previous spacesuits, provide crew members with better functionality, comfort and protection, and provide greater pressurized mobility. The Starliner spacesuit utilizes YKK’s PROSEAL® watertight and airtight zipper for the suit’s main entry and for its hood-like soft helmet. The PROSEAL® zipper is an integral part of the survival function of the suit and is capable of holding pressure in excess of 4 psi. This video produced by Boeing gives an overview of the new spacesuit's functionality.
YKK’s PROSEAL® zipper is used on the Starliner spacesuit’s soft hood, integrating the hood into the suit. The zipper allows the user to open the hood and fold it back when not needed. The airtight/watertight zipper functions as a seal, keeping air inside the suit if pressurized and preventing water from entering the suit if a water escape is necessary.
YKK’s PROSEAL® zipper is also used as the main entry into the suit. The user enters the suit through the back and is zipped up from between the legs and up the back. Like the hood closure, the zipper’s function is to seal the suit, keeping air in, and preventing water or toxic gases from entering the suit.
There are also standard YKK® brand zippers used in other areas of the suit.
“YKK has been an excellent supplier for our pressure suits and spacesuits for many years,” says Shane E. Jacobs, Ph.D., Softgoods Design Manager, David Clark Company. “YKK provides a critical component of the suit that has served us very well for many suit programs.” More photographs of the new spacesuit can be viewed on Boeing’s website at http://www.boeing.com/space/starliner/#/spacesuit and http://www.boeing.com/features/2017/01/space-suit-01-17.page.