Washington: NASA is currently designing and developing a new spacesuit system, called the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit or xEMU, for the first woman and next man who will put foot on the Moon in 2024. But the US space agency is seeking feedback from industry on lunar spacesuits as it plans to ask US companies to manage production for 2025 and beyond.
NASA on Friday said that it is seeking industry feedback to help refine and mature the acquisition strategy for production and services for lunar spacesuits to enable a steady cadence of Artemis missions over the next decade and beyond.
The agency is prepared to build and certify the initial spacesuits to support a demonstration in a spaceflight environment on the International Space Station in 2023 and the first trip to the lunar surface in 2024, as part of the Artemis III mission.
After Artemis III, NASA plans to transition responsibility for production, assembly, testing, sustaining and maintenance of a fleet of flight and training spacesuits and associated hardware to the US industry. The new exploration suit can be used in spacewalks that may vary with dust, thermal conditions, operational requirements such as walking, driving rovers, or collecting samples, or gravity.
The multi-destination design also means the suits could be used for spacewalks on the space station, or at Gateway if needed, and future missions to Mars can build on the core suit technologies with additional upgrades for use in the Martian atmosphere and greater gravity. Several new design features on the new exploration suit will accommodate a broader range of crew sizes and improve fit, comfort, and astronaut mobility for tasks on the lunar surface. Improvements include a highly mobile lower torso for walking and kneeling as well as an upgradable life support system that allows components to be swapped as technologies mature or mission parameters change without having to redesign the entire suit. Additionally, the life support system incorporates many new technological innovations to improve overall reliability, safety and performance. (IANS)