Current NASA flight suit replication (2021 version)

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ID10T

Sr Member
So, I don't know how far this will go at the end of the day, but I've decided a current flight suit would be a cool easy to do and (relitively) cheap costume to throw together.

I was a bit optimistic in most of that initial assessment, but still much cheaper than my Corporal Rostock for example.

Here's a good reference (you can zoom WAY in of you like):

https://flic.kr/p/2kAgKRz
Breaking it down, we have the flight suit, some patches, t-shirt and shoes.

Flight suit: G&B 27/P in royal blue. $258.00 FSL 27/P Flight Suit | Gibson & Barnes - Premiere Flyer & Aviation Outfitters

That was easy. (and real NOMEX flight suit, not a costume piece, so it has the right color and "sheen") Cotton-poly is only a few bucks less, so you might as well go all-in on this.

Patches: A-B Emblem (official supplier to NASA)

Flag: USA Flag 3X5 (LEFT SHOULDER)
Meatball: NASA Vector (Official Size) (RIGHT BREAST)
Program (same crew 2 patch shown) Crew-2 (RIGHT SHOULDER)

Plenty of other program patches available from A-B Emblem. I'm thinking of doing an Artemis (next manned moon mission) suit myself, but commercial crew and others are cool too.

Patches are all sewn directly to the suit, with the exception of the name tag, which is Velcro attached.

Name tag: This is a bit trickier possibly. G&B is the supplier of these to NASA, but you can't find some of the designs the astronauts use in their "name tag builder" of their web site. "Mission Specialist" is the one you would pick, unless you are a pilot, or come from a military branch. Generally this is a civilian without a military background (geologist etc.) that is to be flown on a mission based on their specialized need for that mission.

1627055258272.png


In order to get this patch, you must call G&B and order it verbally. Here's what to ask for:

"The wings in the photo are Mission Specialist wings. Below are the details of the nametags in the photo.

The nametag is:
Fabric: Nomex Lightweight Royal
Wings: Mission Specialist (White)
Border: White
Letters: Block (White)"


If you DON'T want Velcro on the back (because you are sewing it directly on something) you must specify this. They apply the Velcro BEFORE "Merrowing" the edges, so it is completely attached forever, all the way around. And it sits flatter because of this (brilliant I thought). So if you have other plans, ask for it to be deleted.

There is one other type of wing available (not shown on the site) which has the NASA meatball in the center. I've not yet seen this on any astronaut to date so it may be a fantasy thing (or really rare). Ebay sels cheezy ones but they are not terribly expensive from G&B (~$15) so go for the real ones.

If you have military background, you select the appropriate wings for your branch, and adjust them to NASA specs (although these may be NASA variants- similar to Air Force command pilot wings, but different). You can make these in the builder on the G&B site:
1627055598243.jpeg


Oh, see that black "commercial crew" patch on the right mid-section? There are two versions of it. One, like Bob's, above, is "flown". The other version does not have the sunrise detail at the bottom, which indicates "not flown"; i.e. you are on the commercial crew, but haven't flown yet. A-B has those (both variants) as well.

Here's an example of another (real) name tag variant:
1627055741195.jpeg

Nicole here has a Naval Aviator background prior to joining NASA. I don't know why her tag is red however. (If you knw why, let us know!). I have read that silver wings are "not space flown" and gold wings are "space flown". She has a "flown" commercial crew patch as well. Obviously space flown. Bob's wings, above, are standard white, not silver. So there seems to be some "leeway" here on a few things, unless Bob's are in fact a NASA-only version, which seems to be the case the more I look at them.

Now, some astronauts have a VERY special patch, like our friend Meghan here (she often wears a small space shuttle necklace as well):
1627056156033.jpeg


Under her name tag is the "Mach 26" patch (not sure why it's Velcro and not direct sewn- possibly because it is the ONLY one, and not replaceable). That one is impossible to get. Only a few were ever made (by A-B Emblem) and even other astronauts can't get them- they have to be awarded. And you get awarded one for flying at Mach 25 (or higher) in a controlled craft*, usually on a high-orbit shuttle return flight. But there are a couple other variants, showing SPACE-X (I think) capsule and MIR (with "MACH" in Russian). So forget a Mach 26 patch. But, MACH 25 is possible...

*Apollo capsules actually reentered much faster, but were not a controlled craft

So how do you get one? eBay of course. Someone in China makes fake ones. These look correct (the others do not). A bit expensive for what they are, but I have not found another source:


You can of course leave it off, because it is a VERY small club wearing them.

Footwear: I've only seen Meghan's footwear (clearly) while in a flight suit, and naturally, they are silver with rainbow sparkle Doc Martens. It is possible they are seen in the photo because, well, they're silver with rainbow sparkles! Or it's just that the men are taller, so their boots are cut off all the time in the clear, close-up photos. Most of the men have black boots, but I have not positively identified them yet. It is POSSIBLE they are Dehner Alert Boots. They have been suppliers to NASA since Apollo, possiblly before. If you have impossible to fit feet, they are the best option.


They may just be the typical "swat" boot as well (Rothco etc.), since they seem to have a well rounded toe and the sneaker-like sole attachment (non-rebuildable). It seems non-critical (based on the Doc Martens) but for men, black service boots of some description seem appropriate. I'll probably use my 1980's vintage NATO steel toe combat boots, because I already have them.

Zoom in on this one. Boots are somewhat random (and one pair of black sneakers) so you're safe with whatever here:
1627058731686.jpeg


Also interesting to see the ESA and Russian variant patches. (not sure if A-B has all these variants, but probably).

Undershirt: Seems open. Navy blue, light gray and dark gray shown above. I have not seen white but I have seen what looks like black (possibly deep navy blue).

Headgear: Generally the crew will wear some sort of cover based on the event they are attending (usually all the same). So, I've not seen anything "official" here, as a general cover. A decent meatball (not the "worm") logo cap seems appropriate, if you prefer a head cover. Or nothing.
 
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ID10T

Sr Member
I have ordered the name tags from G&B, and picked up a pair of (Nice!) Danner "swat" boots for $34.40 shipped.

I moved a few things on eBay so once I have payment in my account I can continue forward with this.
 

dkaniel

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
If Nicole Mann was Navy then she is wearing Gold Wings because Navy and Marine Corp. Pilots wear Gold while Air Force wear Silver.
 

ID10T

Sr Member
Well I’m no expert- just doing the research.

But her wings are naval aviator wings so quite possibly the ones she earned in the navy ( and applied to her flight suit) I just assumed (quite possibly incorrectly) the navy wings were gray or blue background rather than red.

Marine aviator wings have a different design at the center than the navy ones. But I expected those to be red.

The information I read about silver being non space flown and gold being space flown could also be incorrect. But it was on the internet, so, beyond reproach really…

Maybe the field color varies for other reasons. My dad was in the navy (not an aviator) but I never served, which I do regret at times. We very rarely spoke about his time in the service.

Edit- I just had a thought. I bet I could make contact with one or more astronauts and ask some of these questions directly. Maybe I’ll do that.
 

ID10T

Sr Member
I think I found where the "meatball" wings are used.

NASA has many simulations and one is HERA for long term confinement testing.

HERA Analog - Johnson Space Center (Photos not opening at the moment or I'd post them directly)

Many of the "crews" of those tests have the meatball wings. It seems they are looking for "victims" regularly, in case one might be interested in ~45 days of peace and quiet... I'm not sure it's worth the cost, but I presume you get a flight suit with the mission patch and some other goodies to keep after suffering through it.

Personally, I'd see if I could bring along a couple models and finally get them done.
 

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Bond323

New Member
Nicole Mann is a Marine aviator, hence the scarlet and gold name tag (USMC colors). And because Marines are Naval Aviators, that’s why she’s wearing Navy wings on her name tag.
 

Bond323

New Member
Nicole Mann is a Marine aviator, hence the scarlet and gold name tag (USMC colors). And because Marines are Naval Aviators, that’s why she is wearing Navy wings on her name tag.
 

ID10T

Sr Member
THANK YOU!

I was having a hard time figuring that out! When I looked at marine corps wings on G&B they had a different design, so I abandoned that theory. BUT, my dad used to joke that the Marines were the “gate guards for the navy”. I did realize the Marines are a division of the Navy but (on G&B anyway) their wings led me to believe they were different.

It explains the color of Nicole’s wings. I was side-tracked by other information when I was last on the NASA site so I have not located how to contact astronauts.

I was fooled by the wings they show to select the Marines. Which, they don’t list as available anywhere… but if I select Navy or Marines, they do share these same wings. Thanks again for clarifying my oversight.

Marine naval aviator;
1627552485820.png
 
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machzeropoint2

New Member
As you stated above the Navy and Marine Corp wear the same wings and they are always gold. At NASA the marines wear the wings over a red background vice blue for the Navy. To differentiate flown vs non flown, there is the "shooting star" that is placed over the shield of the wings
U.S._Navy_Astronaut_insignia.jpg
 

ID10T

Sr Member
Interesting.

Nicole does not have the "shooting star" on her name tag.

She has the "Sunrise" on her commercial crew patch, indicating she's an astronaut... My theory is that she is qualified but not space flown yet. I found this linked from NASA:


EDIT- just found her title: "Boeing Crew Flight Test" so, I presume she is not (yet?) space flown.
 
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ID10T

Sr Member
Shannon Walker is a heavy-hitter. Her education credentials are most impressive!

 

ID10T

Sr Member
Some other bios from the commercial program:









(note these are only the American commercial crew members)
 

ID10T

Sr Member
Found a flight suit today. The exact G&B model but it has some stripe detail added to it. So I’ll need to remove that, but otherwise it’s quite nice, the right color and my size. Oh, WAY less than a brand new one too. I’ll do a little seam ripping to save almost $200 on a new flight suit!

I also ordered a pair of “Mach 25” patches.
 
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ID10T

Sr Member
Here's a good shot of the jackets. Also G&B based on the sleeve pocket tag, but most likely a custom order.

https://flic.kr/p/2aBa5K7
Back of the jacket:

https://flic.kr/p/2digzdd
Sometimes mission patches are applied the the right shoulder, but more often not.

https://flic.kr/p/2aBa5Rj
The "Classic Jacket" is the closest they offer, but I don't see the pocket tab/label (but the photo from NASA is from 2018, and the tab may be a newer addition than the stock photo on G&B).


G&B seem to be very accommodating, so I'm sure you can get the exact jacket NASA orders with a phone call. Hard to tell from the photo if the jacket is NOMEX or just the cotton/poly material. I'm looking to see if I can find a flight suit with a jacket over it, to compare materials. You have many options for insulation (or not) as well, so you can make the jacket cooler or warmer as your climate dictates. They even offer removeable liners.

Another jacket photo:
https://flic.kr/p/2kxLjms
CONFIRMED the jacket is G&B, and you can order the exact model NASA orders, if you were so inclined...

"The classic jacket is correct. The option typically ordered [by NASA] is the Heavyweight Nomex with the lightweight lining for $308.00. Often added is a 2x4 Velcro loop to the left chest for an additional $4. Additional patches are sew on by the receiver."
 
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ID10T

Sr Member
Got my boots cleaned up and oiled (I use Pitch Blend) and a new set of black laces. The originals had a gray thread woven into them (possibly replacements?). But they’re nice and have a lot of life left in them. Not bad for under $35! (well, $40 if you count the $5 laces...)

0D475785-8A21-4E15-ADED-9E2CD3048AF9.jpeg


I also received the flight suit (a bit early) and the stripes are going to be a PITA to remove. They sew the stripe down the leg and then they sew a stripe onto the pocket, rolling the stripe under as they stitch the pocket on… yeah. Not fun. But I’ll get it done.
 
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ID10T

Sr Member
And today I ordered the patches from A-B Emblem.

Probably have those next week. Let's se if I can get these stripes off so I can drop the suit and patches off with the seamstress for attachment.
 

ID10T

Sr Member
I "de-striped" as much as I can. The rest the seamstress will have to do when she applies the patches.

Let's talk about G&B build quality for a second. When you order a new suit, there are many options, like these stripes. Well, what they do is, they sew the stripes onto the suit, before finishing the hems, pockets and collar. So there is exactly one place where there is an "end" to the stripes, and that is at the waist (top of the leg stripe). If a pocket is added (you have a lot of options there too), they sew the stripe to the pocket, and then sew the pocket onto the suit. So the stripe is seen inside the pocket, but the edges of every stripe are sewn down when the pocket seams are tucked under. It's basically bomb-proof.

And the stitching is GOOD. I had to rip nearly every loop stitch out to get the stripes off. Very well done and not like that sweater thread you pull and the entire seam falls apart.

Made in America, and there was nothing unusual I found when taking the stripes off- great attention to detail and quality throughout.

Nope, they're not paying me to say that, but if you were on the fence with any of their USA made garments, they are worth the asking price. Which is really quite reasonable.
 

ID10T

Sr Member
Picked up a Gen-1 Omega Speedmaster X-33 today to compliment the outfit (plus I've wanted one forever).

1628516734041.png

(Not the particular one I purchased, but the same Gen-1 model)

Bob Behnken has the second generation of this watch, which looks identical except for a couple details. These have a ton of features designed for pilots and astronauts. A really poor seller, and the very first ones released had some issues, but cool to a geek like me. You can google it to see all the features because I'm not typing that all out.

Current version(s) look totally different and are only approved by ESA for non-EVA use. (The X-33 is also non-EVA use; only the hand-wind Speedmaster Professional is approved for EVA by NASA) LCDs and Quartz crystals don't perform well at extreme temperatures and even worse when it is a massive swing (like sun/shade in orbit).

1628516841242.png

Gen-3 X-33 "Skywalker" watch. More handsome, and with a ceramic bezel insert but just not the same to me.
 

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