Sure sure. Elon Musk is rethinking space travel. But what’s he going to wear up there? Maybe he could sport a little Portland fashion? Because you know, we do win Project Runway and we do have someone who has figured out a do-it-yourself space suit here.
Yep. It would only make sense that the town and school that’s home to an amazing open source rocket program would also be home to a professor exploring handmade space apparel, as well. Because Portland. Duh.
In 2008, Cameron Smith, an anthropology professor at Portland State University in Oregon, decided to build a space suit. He designed the Mark I to protect himself on a high-altitude balloon ride, and so far it’s passed tests in a hypobaric chamber and underwater. Last year, independent space program Copenhagen Suborbitals offered him a potential path to the stratosphere (between about 30,000 and 165,000 feet above Earth). Smith will make a suit for the Danish group this summer, and they’ll help him build a helium balloon craft. Traditional pressure garments can cost upwards of $30,000. Smith’s materials set him back about $2,000, thanks to creative use of junk parts and spare kitchenware. “We’re trying to make it easier for people to get into space,” he says.
Okay. Granted. It’s not exactly a space suit. But it’s close. And there’s still a lot of room in that budget to figure out how to make it even better.
For information, read up on Cameron Smith and his DIY spacesuit in Popular Science.