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NASA, lunar spacesuits will be made by two private companies

NASA, lunar spacesuits will be made by two private companies

Even the spacesuits used by astronauts will be enjoying the update very soon and it seems that NASA will not be directly interested in it but will outsource the development and construction to two private companies. This is a somewhat troubling decision, one that comes after years of rumors about ongoing internal developments and unsuccessful projects, and which above all marks a bold turning point in the space agency’s timeline.

In fact, new suits will not only be essential for all low-orbit operations in the coming years, but will be essential to the continuation of Artemis programthe primary task of NASAWhich wants to return man to the moon in a few years. In this regard, it is now clear that 2024, the year that the previous Trump administration wanted, will be completely ignored, but at least there is talk of a delay of only one year, so if everything goes at the current pace, we will return to the moon by 2025. Except That many believe that this date is “certainly optimistic.”

But let’s get back to the development of new moon suits, which according to a NASA statement It will be entrusted to two private companies – Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace – which is proud of a ten-year cooperation with the US Space Agency. In particular, Collins Aerospace is particularly accustomed to the project, having already collaborated in the past on the realization of existing spacesuits used by astronauts.

Although exact details of the contracts have not been shared, we do know that the total value is around $3.5 billion. The amount will cover both partial development costs and purchase costs for allowances once completed. However, there is an interesting clause in the contract, which states that the two companies can use the suits as they like and not for the sole use of NASA, so that they can also be sold to other private companies that want to use them.

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The primary goal is to ensure that spacesuits are ready to be worn by astronauts on the Artemis III mission, the third for the Artemis III mission. SLS . missile And the first to bring astronauts to the surface since the Apollo program closed.

It’s worth noting that for the past 40 years, NASA astronauts have relied on the same basic spacesuit design to conduct spacewalks on the International Space Station. The suit, called the EMU (Extra-Vehicle Mobility Unit), first appeared during the space shuttle era and then came with an “improved” version, the version currently used by astronauts on the International Space Station for spacewalks and all extravehicular activities. The EMUs have not been updated in decades and are starting to show signs of aging, so it was decided not to use them for future lunar spacewalks, and also for extravehicular activities on the International Space Station, they will be replaced as soon as the new suits are ready.