New astronaut suits from NASA will be used for spacewalks and moonwalks within the next decade.
NASA will need new clothes to accompany the astronauts on Moon for the Artemis I mission and the final manufacturers were selected: Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace. The two companies will develop next-generation spacesuits that will be used for missions to the Moon and also for spacewalks on the ISS space station, according to Engadget.
NASA says it has defined technical and safety standards around the new “xEMU” device (Peripheral Mobility Unit), but the partners must address issues such as “design, development, qualifications, and certification” as well as developing the necessary supporting equipment.
According to NASA, the new suit could be ready for use in 2025, after testing in the ISS or simulated environment. While the agency is also preparing for other new instruments such as the Moon lander from SpaceX and many other companies, equipping new clothes is one of the most important tasks for future missions.
Currently, astronauts are still relying on space equipment designed about 45 years ago for the Space Shuttle program. In an August 2021 report, NASA noted that its xEMU plans will likely fall short of its original goal by 2024, and that it has spent about $420 million developing the new suits.