In 2014, NASA unveiled the winner in a contest, open to the public, to select the appearance of the outer covering of the Z-2 next-generation spacesuit.
The winning design, nicknamed “Technology,” sports electroluminescent stripes for better visibility in darkness.
The Z-2’s suit port allows astronauts to slide directly from within a pressurized vehicle into a spacesuit. The inner hatch cover and portable life support system (PLSS) are removed to gain access to the suit.
Earlier NASA suits were split into separate pants and torso sections (above). The Russian Orlan suit used since 1977 has a rear hatch for entry.
In online voting, the Z-2 visual design dubbed “Technology” won over two other designs, “Biomimickry” (left) and “Trends in Society”.
Unlike the earlier Z-1 spacesuit with its soft upper torso, the Z-2 has a hard composite upper torso for the long-term durability needed in a planetary spacesuit. The shoulder and hip designs are also improved over the Z-1.