NASA and Private Company Promote New Hi-Tech Astronaut Space Suit

NASA and a private company revealed a new space suit prototype. Astronauts are to wear it on the next moon mission.

NASA and Axiom Space, a private company, showed off a prototype for a new moon landing space suit on Wednesday. The private-public partnership showcased the new attire at Houston’s Johnson Space Center.

The next-generation outfit includes thermal protection and greater flexibility than what astronauts on the Apollo mission wore half a century ago. There are multiple protective layers, life support system backpacks, a high-definition go-pro equivalent atop the helmet and lights.

NASA’s Artmenis program hopes to see humans return to the moon by 2025. It would be the first such moon landing since the US retired the Apollo missions in 1972.

What is the New Space Suit?

Axiom won a $228.5 million contract (roughly €215 million at current exchange rates) to design the suit for the Artemis III mission.

Formally, the suit is called the Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit.

The chief engineer Jim Stein wore the spacesuit on stage at NASA. He waved his arms and performed squats and knee bends to show a range of motion available in the new attire.

To “conceal the suit’s proprietary design,” an all-black cover layer was paired with blue and orange trim — though the final version will be white to protect from heat and shield from harsh lunar rays.

Russell Ralston, the deputy program manager for extravehicular activity at Axiom Space, said the “portable life support system” could be thought of “as like a very fancy scuba tank and air conditioner kind of combined into one.”

The new suit can be worn for up to eight hours.

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

Only 12 white men have ever set foot on the moon. April 3 NASA is expected to announce the astronauts aboard a moon orbit mission known as Artemis II, though it is unclear whether the next moon mission will be more diverse. One other legacy of the Apollo missions remains.

Russell Ralston, deputy program manager for extravehicular activity at Axiom Space, noted, “We’re still using diapers in the spacesuits. They’re just honestly a very effective solution.”

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