Jose Fernandez is best known for his superhero suits and movie props, but has won the contract to design a "badass" uniform for Elon Musk
One of Hollywood’s most in-demand costume and prop designers, responsible for creating the Iron Man suit and for putting nipples on Batman’s infamous costume in Batman & Robin, has been commissioned by Elon Musk to develop the spacesuit to be worn by SpaceX astronauts.
Jose Fernandez, the founder of Ironhead Studio, may not be a household name, but over the past two decades, his work on some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters has turned him into an industry legend.
Along with his work on such iconic superhero characters as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and Wonder Woman, he has also produced the helmets and costumes worn by Daft Punk at the Grammys and robotic costumes for the Black Eyed Peas – capturing the attention of billionaire Elon Musk, who has previously gone on the record saying he wants his astronauts to look “badass.”
"SpaceX reached out to me to ask if I would create a spacesuit. I didn't know what SpaceX was and I thought it was a film. Then I realised it's an actual space programme. They were looking to get a suit built for Elon to look at for the programme. They had two weeks to present the suit to him and I told them I couldn't do a full suit in two weeks, but I may be able to do a helmet," Fernandez said in an interview with Bleep Magazine.
"There were four other companies working on bids as well and at the end of the process, he hated everything except the helmet. I worked with him for six months and at the end of that, we created a suit that they are now reverse-engineering to make functional for flight."
Fernandez added that Musk truly wants to focus as much on design and aesthetics as functionality when it comes to the SpaceX suit.
"He kept saying: 'Anyone looks better in a tux, no matter what size or shape they are,' and when people put this spacesuit on, he wants them to look better than they did without it, like a tux. You look heroic in it. It's an iconic thing be a part of," said Fernandez.
Fernandez did not reveal any hints to what his suit will look like nor when it is likely to debut.
Musk’s SpaceX signed a deal with NASA in November 2015 to send the US agency’s astronauts to the International Space Station in the coming, helping to reclaim the route from Russia. Currently, NASA has to pay $70m (€61m) for every seat its astronauts fill on Russia’s Soyuz capsules.
Along with aviation giant Boeing, NASA has paid billions of dollars to SpaceX to start the transit between the Earth and the ISS as early as 2017, with the potential of planning a trip to Mars by 2025.