ESA astronaut and professor of astronautics and space stations Reinhold Ewald with the SkinSuit garment worn by ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen on the International Space Station. The suit, designed to simulate the pull of gravity on the body to prevent muscle loss in weightlessness, is displayed at the Living in Space exhibition at the Techtextil und Texprocess Trade Fair in Frankfurt, Germany.
SkinSuit is an example of the materials and technologies behind space exploration being showcased 9–12 May during the event organised by Messe Frankfurt in cooperation with ESA and the DLR German Aerospace Center.
In order for space travel to be sustainable and affordable, lighter spacecraft are needed. Once in space, humans require everything from a safe habitat to comfortable yet functional clothing to sustainable sources of food and reliable modes of transport. Technical textiles help to realise these needs.
Technical textiles are materials used to manufacture functional products. Though incorporating clothing, they go beyond fashion and are used in automotives, medicine and agriculture. Heatshields and spacesuits are some of the better-known applications.
On display by ESA are various spacesuits and the designs of the Couture in Orbit project, as well as exploratory programmes such as the Mars Express satellite, the ExoMars orbiter, and the Meteron Eurobot rover. ESA experts are also giving talks on technology transfer during the event.