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NASA Astronaut Wears Spacesuit Painted By Kids With Pediatric Cancer

NASA Astronaut Wears Spacesuit Painted By Kids With Pediatric Cancer

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First Posted: Sep 21, 2016 01:31 AM EDT
Kate Rubins
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins wears a hand-painted spacesuit decorated by recovering patients from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. NASA / Wikimedia Commons CC0

NASA's astronaut Kate Rubins on Friday (Sept. 16) wore a colorful flight suit aboard the International Space Station as a part of an effort to raise awareness about childhood cancer. The suit that flight engineer Kate Rubins wore was "COURAGE," a hand-painted flight suit that was created by the pediatric patients recovering at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center located in Houston.

The exceptional article was fashioned by "The Space Suit Art Project," collaboration between NASA Johnson Space Center, MD Anderson and ILC Dover. The latter is a company that develops NASA spacesuits. "This project is a real inspiration for me," Rubins said on Friday during a video conversation with MD Anderson pediatric cancer patients "It was a wonderful opportunity to paint with you guys. I remember when this suit was just a blank canvas and then all of you guys painted it." Before she left for the ISS in July, Rubins had joined Nicole Stott, who was a former astronaut and is now an artist, and various other NASA representatives who lent their artistic talents to create the "COURAGE" and counsel the young cancer patients at MD Anderson, states Space.com.

The Space Suit Art Project is born out of the hospital's initiative: Arts in Medicine Program. The program helps patients undergoing cancer treatment through art. It also inspired the leaders in NASA's space program to support this effort with some help from the astronauts, scientists as well as engineers. The agency designed the patterns for the garments and collaborated with ILC Dover to assemble the suits.

"COURAGE" was delivered to the international space station on SpaceX's ninth Dragon cargo spacecraft on July 20 to provide supplies for the orbiting laboratory. In addition to "COURAGE," The Space Suit Art Project has also manufactured some wearable replica spacesuits based on the same equipment worn by the astronauts outside the ISS, according to Collectspace.com.

The project's such first spacesuit was named "HOPE" and was stitched together from about 600 separate painted art pieces created by patients at MD Anderson. "COURAGE," when returned back to Earth is to go on display at the Space Center at Houston, a visitor center for NASA's Johnson Space Center, around January 2017.

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