Bubble Helmet, Paragon StratEx Suit

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

On October 24, 2014, Dr. Alan Eustace used a state-of-the-art Pressure Suit Assembly to ascend to the top of the stratosphere beneath a large, helium-filled plastic balloon and sky dive back to Earth. He reached a maximum altitude of 135,889 feet before parachuting back to Earth, breaking the previous world record. He accomplished this mission by using a pressure suit alone for life support and foregoing the weight of a balloon gondola to ascend to the stratosphere.

This bubble helmet was made of mainly plastic and aluminum, similar to spacesuit helmets. The polycarbonate is tinted to protect the wearer's eyes. In the case of this mission, the helmet was made especially thick and durable because the awkward center of gravity made it likely that the pilot would land face down. The small white envelop on the top carried an altimeter from which an LED electrode would flash status to the pilot on the inside of the helmet. Alan Eustace wore this helmet for all his test flights and the final mission.

The Eustace-Kwan family donated this suit to the museum in 2015.