New AxEMU Suit Unveiled for Artemis III Mission: NASA and Axiom Space Make History
NASA and its spacesuit provider Axiom Space have unveiled the prototype of the new suit that will be worn by astronauts on the Artemis III mission, set to return to the Moon in 2025. The Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit (AxEMU) is designed to allow greater range of motion and provide enhanced protection from the harsh environment near the lunar south pole. It is also the first suit made to accommodate a wider range of body types, and is white to reflect the heat and protect the astronauts from extreme temperatures.
The Artemis III mission is scheduled for December 2025 and will include the first woman and person of color to walk on the Moon. Prior to the mission, NASA will test a massive Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage for the Artemis I mission, which is set to launch later this year.
The AxEMU prototype was unveiled during the Moon 2 Mars Festival on Wednesday and is black with blue and orange detailing. A white cover layer is used for display to conceal the suit's proprietary design. It includes a dome-shaped helmet with lights and an HD camera to share experiences, flexible gauntlets, and a life support system mounted like a backpack on the hatch itself.
NASA is partnering with Axiom Space for the development and production of the suits, under a $228.5 million task order in a $1.26 billion contract. The new suits will accommodate at least 90% of men and women in the US, and can be entered through a hatch in the back.
The AxEMU suit is a major improvement from the Apollo-era suits that have been in use on the International Space Station since the 1980s. The new suit has been designed with the legacy of NASA spacesuits in mind, while incorporating new technology, more mobility, and protection from the lunar environment. It is an important milestone in the Artemis program, which seeks to inspire a new generation of astronauts, engineers, and scientists to carry on the mission to return humanity to the Moon and beyond.
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