Over the weekend, SpaceX and NASA made history with the first orbital crewed launch to depart from American soil in close to a decade – the first by a commercial company. It was, according to NASA, the most-watched online space event ever, with more than 10.3 million concurrent viewers looking to get a peek into the wonders of space and the stylish new spacesuits. Those new suits were actually designed by one of Hollywood’s most prominent costume creators, Jose Fernandez, who has brought some of the most notable superheroes to life on the big screen.
Fernandez, the driving force behind Ironhead Studios, created the sleek spacesuits worn by SpaceX astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley by applying what he learned creating flexible, yet form-fitting, outfits on superhero films such as Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. That’s right, Fernandez has spent almost three decades in Hollywood creating outfits for films, like the Bat-suit and Bat-mech suit Ben Affleck donned in the now infamous 2016 Warner Bros. blockbuster. He’s also worked on notable films like Batman Returns, The Avengers, Tron: Legacy, Watchmen, X-Men: First Class and Tim Burton’s 2001 Planet of the Apes remake, among others.
The SpaceX-NASA spacesuit, which took Fernandez a couple of years to design with the help of company founder Elon Musk, might look snazzy but it’s all about practicality. The Teflon fabric with fireproof piping is made to travel, free of dangling and dragging like previous iterations, with power and life-support systems relying on a single connection, found at the thigh. It also offers protection from potential depressurization, using an emergency breathing system and the ability to fully pressurize if the cabin of the rocket were to suddenly lose oxygen.
But the biggest thing Fernandez accomplished was similar to what he’d done for Affleck’s Bat-cowl several years earlier, something that was a thorn in NASA’s side throughout the entire Apollo era: the inability for the astronauts to move their heads because of bolted-on helmets. Without the ability to move their heads, astronauts had a more limited sight line while in space – but not any longer thanks to Fernandez’s suit. And the men who wore the suit to the International Space Station even gave it a five-star review.
Prior to Saturday’s launch, NASA and SpaceX’s livestream event featured an extensive look at Fernandez’s new suit, some of it’s more futuristic benefits and the testing that was involved. It’s crazy to think that the mind behind some of Hollywood’s most distinguished superhero looks helped launch the next evolution of space travel. Let’s be honest, it’s just one more thing Batman can now put on his resume. Take that, Superman!