The Elon Musk-led space company put on a big show. Clad in futuristic space suits courtesy of SpaceX, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley got the red carpet treatment as they made their way to a NASA logo-adorned Tesla Model X that drove them to the historic launch complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
But not everybody is happy with the glamorous spacesuit design.
“A boxy white top with minor detailing, paired with boxy white pants with minor detailing?” GQ contributing writer Tyler Watamanuk wrote in a recent article for the men’s lifestyle magazine, condemning SpaceX’s design choices.
“This is the International Space Station, not Everlane!” Watamanuk added, pointing out that “in some ways, the design feels deliberately trend-adverse, paying no mind to contemporary style or even the larger world of design.”
“It looks like car upholstery,” Gizmodo staff reporter Whitney Kimball wrote in a post. “It looks like Tron. It looks like a half-finished Power Ranger. It looks like a Tesla-sponsored NASCAR tracksuit.”
Other fashionistas were kinder to the design.
“Actually, what the SpaceX suits evoke most of all is James Bond’s tuxedo if it were redesigned by Tony Stark as an upgrade for [‘Star Trek’ captain] James T. Kirk’s next big adventure,” Vanessa Friedman, chief fashion critic for The New York Times, wrote in a Thursday commentary piece.
“They do not have the dangling hoses, knobs and wires of the traditional suits,” she added.
The suit’s designer is Jose Fernandez, a Hollywood veteran who worked on movies including “The Avengers” and “Batman v Superman.” The flashy design was reverse-engineered to meet space travel requirements — not the other way around.
But speaking of dangling hoses and knobs, NASA’s own take for its upcoming Artemis missions to the Moon looks strikingly different. The agency’s Orion Crew Survival System suit features a traffic pylon-orange design with NASA-blue trim.
The boots look like a pair of futuristic Adidas. The helmet evokes the Apollo missions. And the gloves could basically be worn snowboarding, from a purely aesthetic point of view.
It’s liquid cooled, custom-fitted to each astronaut, and features a survival kit including a life preserver, rescue knife, flashlight, whistle, and light sticks.
In short, it’s a freakin’ space suit that’s ready for anything. Function takes precedence over form; it was designed to look like a space suit — not a tuxedo.
READ MORE: Hey, SpaceX: We Deserved a Cooler Space Suit [GQ]