NASA unveils next-generation spacesuit for Artemis III lunar surface mission

Credit: Axiom Space

When[{” attribute=””>NASA sends the first astronauts to explore near the lunar South Pole, moonwalkers will wear spacesuits provided by Axiom Space. NASA selected the company to develop the modern suits for the Artemis III mission and participated in activities when the first prototype was revealed Wednesday during an event at Space Center Houston in Texas.

Helping take a step forward in the agency’s goal to build a robust economy at the Moon by working with commercial service providers, Axiom Space hosted the event for students and media to ask questions and get a close-up look at the spacesuit.

AxEMU Artemis III Spacesuit Prototype

The Artemis III spacesuit prototype, the AxEMU. Though this prototype uses a dark gray cover material, the final version will likely be all-white when worn by NASA astronauts on the Moon’s surface, to help keep the astronauts safe and cool while working in the harsh environment of space. Credit: Axiom Space

“NASA’s partnership with Axiom is critical to landing astronauts on the Moon and continuing American leadership in space. 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 opportunities for more people to explore and conduct science on the Moon than ever before,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Our partnership is investing in America, supporting America’s workers, and demonstrating another example of America’s technical ingenuity that will position NASA and the commercial space sector to compete – and win – in the 21st century.”

When astronauts return to the Moon for the first time in over 50 years on NASA’s Artemis III mission, they will wear Axiom Space’s next-generation spacesuit to walk on the lunar surface. Credit: Axiom Space

Artemis III will land astronauts, including the first woman, on the Moon to advance lunar exploration and long-term scientific discovery, and inspire the Artemis generation. NASA selected Axiom Space to provide the moonwalking system, including the spacesuit, for the mission. Called the Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or AxEMU, the spacesuit builds on NASA spacesuit prototype developments and incorporates the latest technology, improved mobility and additional protection from the dangers of the Moon.

NASA elected to use a commercial services contract for the development of the new spacesuit, whereby NASA purchases moonwalking services from Axiom Space. Under this model, the company is encouraged to seek out other commercial customers for its moonwalking services. This mutually beneficial approach helps strengthen an emerging commercial market and grants NASA the right to use the data and technologies developed under the contract for future exploration efforts.

Axiom AxEMU Spacesuit Helmet

Credit: Axiom Space

“NASA is leading the way in enabling a growing space economy by leveraging industry capabilities and NASA expertise to provide moonwalking services that are as safe, effective and efficient as possible,” said Lara Kearney, manager of NASA’s Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Mobility program.

NASA laid the foundation for the AxEMU with the agency’s Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) prototype development efforts that advanced spacesuit design for multiple destinations. Axiom Space used the experience, expertise and data behind the xEMU as the basis for the design and development of the AxEMU, including advances in technology, training, astronaut feedback on comfort and maneuverability, and compatibility with other NASA systems. Building on previous NASA development efforts helps Axiom Space reduce technical and schedule risk.

Axiom AxEMU spacesuit detail

Credit: Axiom Space

NASA experts have defined the technical and safety standards to which the spacesuits will be built, and Axiom Space has agreed to meet these key agency requirements. The AxEMU provides the range of motion and flexibility to further explore the lunar landscape, and the suit will suit a wide range of crew members, accommodating at least 90% of the male and female US population. Axiom Space will continue to apply modern technological innovations in life support systems, compression garments and avionics as development proceeds.

Axiom Space is responsible for the design, development, qualification, certification and production of flight training spacesuits and support equipment, including tools, to enable the Artemis III mission. The company will test the suit in a space environment before the mission. NASA retains authority for astronaut training, mission planning, and approval of service systems.

Axiom AxEMU Spacesuit Gloves

Credit: Axiom Space

After Artemis III, the agency will compete for future Artemis mission services under the Exploration Extravehicular Activity Services (xEVAS) contract. NASA is using the contract to support the agency’s spacewalk requirements for the Moon and the International Space Station. The agency recently awarded an order to Collins Aerospace, which is also competing under the xEVAS contract, to develop new spacesuits for astronauts to wear during spacewalks on the space station. The two providers will compete for future orders for spacewalking and moonwalking services.

Thanks to Artemis, NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon, paving the way for a sustainable, long-term lunar presence to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before and prepare for future missions. astronauts for

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