NASA announced they have chosen Axiom Space to build the spacesuits for the next astronauts to walk on the Moon. The spacesuits will be used on the Artemis III mission, which is planned to land the first woman and the first person of color on the lunar surface.
Axiom Space says the new spacesuits will provide astronauts with advanced capabilities for space exploration while providing NASA commercially developed human systems needed to access, live, and work in microgravity as well as on and around the Moon.
“Our team at Axiom Space is honored to be awarded this first task order to build the next-generation spacesuit,” said Michael Suffredini, Axiom Space’s President & CEO. Suffredini worked at NASA for 30 years and was the International Space Station Program Manager from 2005 to 2015. “We are excited to provide our expertise to meet NASA’s exploration needs, while simultaneously serving our commercial customers in low Earth orbit and fulfill future space station goals that enable a commercial space economy.”
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Axiom said the spacesuits will be “evolvable,” which will enable rapid upgrades to implement better, safer technologies over time. It also ensures astronauts will be equipped with the latest technology and high performing, robust equipment. Images or graphics of these new spacesuits are not yet available.
Artemis III is currently scheduled to launch in 2025 – subject to delays, as the Artemis 1 test flight has not yet launched. Artemis III is planned as the second crew Artemis mission and the first crewed Moon landing mission of the program, as well as the first crewed flight of the Starship HLS lander. It will be the bring the first astronauts to walk on the Moon since Apollo 17 in 1972.
“What we learn on Artemis III and future missions on and around the Moon will pave the way for missions to Mars,” said Lara Kearney, manager of NASA’s Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Mobility program. “Spacesuits enable us to literally take that next step.”
NASA reviewed proposals from its two eligible spacesuit vendors, Axiom and Collins Aerospace, and selected Axiom Space for the moonwalking EVA suit. The order has a base value of $228.5 million. A previously disclosed key to the agreement is that NASA won’t own the suits, but rent them. That means Axiom will be responsible for upkeep and upgrades.
Axiom said they will build off NASA’s lastest xEMU spacesuit design, and be created to provide increased flexibility and specialized tools to accomplish exploration needs and expand scientific opportunities in space. The xEVAS spacesuits design includes life support, pressure garments, and avionics. The Axiom Space team will provide xEVA systems training and real-time operations support to NASA, among other services.??
In building the suits, Axiom Space has partnered with one of NASA’s previous spacesuit builders, David Clark Company, as well as Paragon Space Development Corporations and several others.