In 2022, NASA selected Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace to develop next-generation spacesuits that will eventually replace the decades-old equipment that astronauts still use today. . Now, the space agency has expanded its existing contracts and awarded them $5 million each to design and develop new spacesuits that weren’t included in the original orders. they received.
NASA ordered an astronaut suit from Axiom Space for use in low Earth orbit, specifically for spacewalks outside the International Space Station. The original contract for Axiom was for a spacewalking system that the Artemis III astronauts would carry to the lunar surface when they landed on the moon. Axiom unveiled a prototype for first order in March, showcasing a jointed suit that allows the wearer to move easily and a helmet equipped with lights and an HD camera.
Meanwhile, Collins Aerospace received an order for a spacesuit for use on the lunar surface. The company was previously contracted to develop a spacewalking suit for use outside the ISS.
In other words, each company receives a new order that reflects the other’s previous orders.
Lara Kearney, program manager for spacecraft operations and human surface mobility at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, said: , “This mission sets the stage for success for NASA if additional capabilities become necessary or beneficial to NASA missions as the agency paves the way for deep space exploration and commercialization of low Earth orbit through this competitive approach. , we will improve redundancy, expand future capabilities, and invest more in the space economy.”
Redundancy is an important part of space technology development. In this case, spacesuits for the same purpose developed by two different companies can ensure that the astronauts will have something to use if the other side fails. they are modifying their original suit for a new purpose – and NASA wants to see them before committing to further development, Axiom
told SpaceNews that should NASA decide to move forward developing the suits. new astronaut, full order will cost the agency $142 million over four years.