How to Build Your Own Space Suit

How to Build Your Own Space Suit

Monday December 28, 2015 Written by Smith

DIY space suit

To travel into space you have to either be a trained astronaut, or very, very rich. But in volume 17 we spoke to Cameron Smith: an anthropologist who reckons there’s another way, and is building a space suit in his apartment to prove it.

The Portland-based DIY-er has been fascinated with space travel ever since he was a child, but was denied a career as an astronaut due to his poor eyesight. Not one to let something as trivial as a NASA medical requirement get in his way, Smith began researching what it would physically take to send someone into space using only off-the-shelf equipment, and was surprised to find that the answer was 'not much'. (Provided you count hundreds of hours of personal labour and about $5000 as not much.)

He is currently putting the finishing touches on his self-made space suit, which should, if he’s done the calculations right, be sturdy enough to keep him alive when he finally reaches the so-called edge of space, roughly 19 kilometres above sea level. How does he plan to get there? Hot air balloon, apparently. (Though whether that’s possible remains to be seen – Smith freely admits that it will require some legal wrangling, at the very least.) 

Smith might just be the bravest – or most foolhardy – DIY-er we’ve ever spoken to. But the way he sees it, the project is about more than just daredevil stunts: it's about ensuring the survival of the human race – something he doesn't want to leave to the government or wealthy corporations. 

“Spreading humanity and human consciousness is a responsibility, not a luxury,” he says. We’re just glad knowing that when Smith finally makes that leap into the unknown, he’ll be dressed well for it. 

Related: You can read more about Smith’s project to democratise space travel in volume 17. Buy a copy at our online store, find your closest stockist or subscribe

Spacesuit g3

Spacesuit g5

Spacesuit g4

 

Photographer: Holly Andres