Virgin isn't the only company determined to make conventional spacesuits seem like ungainly beasts. Boeing has unveiled the spacesuit it wants to use for people aboard its Starliner CST-100 vessels, and they promise to be far more livable than the clunky spacewear you've seen before. It's roughly 40 percent lighter than previous suits, with layers that should keep astronauts cooler than usual. Wearers also won't feel quite so trapped or claustrophobic -- zippers help them transition from sitting to standing, and there's a wide plastic visor that should improve peripheral vision.
The suit is also designed for the nature of a cutting-edge cockpit. There's a built-in communications headset, and the gloves are touchscreen-friendly.
It'll be a while before you see how the suit works in practice when the Starliner's first International Space Station mission doesn't launch until late 2018. Also, we'd add that Boeing's suit may not be the coolest on the block before long, especially not if SpaceX's superhero-inspired gear lives up to early hype. All the same, we'll take it -- the basic template for spacesuits hasn't changed a whole lot over the decades, and it's about time that they reflect the demands of modern spaceflight.