- The new space suits were unveiled at an event on Wednesday
- Houston-based aerospace company Axiom Space designed the suits
- They were developed for the Artemis III mission in 2025
NASA has unveiled the new space suits that astronauts will wear when they land on the moon, and they look like a mix of classic and new suits.
Following the success of the Artemis I mission, NASA is targeting the next phases of the ambitious Artemis program. The astronauts for the mission would need new outfits for the job.
A prototype for the new spacesuits, dubbed the Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit (AxEMU), was unveiled Wednesday during an event at Space Center Houston. The suits were designed by Houston-based aerospace company Axiom Space, who were chosen to develop them for Artemis III – the mission that would mark mankind’s return to the lunar surface in over 50 years. The Artemis III mission is currently scheduled for 2025.
In an image NASA shared on Twitter, you can see the suit still has the classic spacesuit style but with a more modern and sleek feel. Although the color of the prototype is dark grey, it will actually still be all white during the real mission, just like the classic suits. This is to keep the astronauts cool and safe while they work in the harsh conditions of space, the agency explained.
French astronaut Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency (ESA) shared a photo of the new design on Twitter and wrote: “After #ParisFashionWeek, how about #MoonFashionWeek? Two spacesuits are in development that are scheduled to walk on the lunar surface in 2025, and this is what one of them will look like.”
The design builds on the previous NASA prototype and, according to the agency, incorporates “the latest technology, enhanced mobility and added protection.” They will accommodate “a wide range of crew members”, accommodate about 90% of the male and female population in the US, and offer some important features that the astronauts will need in their explorations.
“We are continuing NASA’s legacy by designing an advanced spacesuit that will enable astronauts to operate safely and effectively on the Moon,” said Michael T. Suffredini, President and CEO of Axiom Space, in a press release. “Axiom Space’s Artemis III spacesuit will be ready to meet the complex challenges of the Moon’s South Pole and advance our understanding of the Moon to enable a long-term presence there.”
AxEMU’s mix of classic and new fits the program. Aside from marking mankind’s return to the moon, Artemis will also witness the landing of the first woman and first colored person on the lunar surface. In addition, Artemis III will be the first manned mission to explore the region near the moon’s south pole.
However, the suits are unlikely to return to Earth with the astronauts. Because of the weight restrictions, the astronauts are only allowed to bring back some gear and the lunar rocks they collected, CollectSpace reported. The suits will be left on the Starship spacecraft, which will remain in lunar orbit.
“Building on NASA’s years of research and expertise, Axiom’s next-generation spacesuits will not only enable the first woman to walk on the moon, but they will also open up the opportunity for more people than ever to explore the moon and do science to operate on the moon,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in the press release.
“Our partnership is investing in America, supporting American workers, and demonstrating another example of America’s technological ingenuity that will enable NASA and the commercial space sector to compete – and win – in the 21st century,” added Nelson.