NASA picks a firm to build its next-gen spacesuits

NASA picks a firm to build its next-gen spacesuits

Axiom Space

NASA on Thursday announced that it has selected Axiom Space to design and produce the spacesuits that astronauts will wear when they return to the moon as part of the Artemis III mission.

The task order, which has a base value of $228.5 million, makes Axiom a key partner in NASA’s ambitious plans to land Americans on the surface of the moon for the first time in over 50 years. The yearslong Artemis mission involves multiple stages of space exploration and will culminate with landing the first woman and person of color on the moon.

Axiom’s suits will allow astronauts to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before. Their design will accommodate a wide range of crew members and will be equipped with specialized tools for exploration and other scientific endeavors in space. The design includes life support, pressure garments and avionics.

“Our modernized, evolvable spacesuits will enable rapid upgrades to implement better, safer technologies over time, ensuring our astronauts are always equipped with high performing, robust equipment,” Axiom CEO Michael Suffredini said in a statement. “We look forward to providing our space pioneers with advanced tools needed to further humanity’s permanent expansion off the planet.”

Earlier this year, NASA narrowed down its potential spacesuit vendors to two companies: Axiom and Collins Aerospace. Under the Exploration Extravehicular Activity Services (xEVAS) contract, Axiom and Collins will compete to provide spacewalking needs for different task orders and missions through 2034. The xEVAS contract has a combined maximum potential value of $3.5 billion for all task order awards.

Both Axiom and Collins Aerospace said earlier this year that they expect to be able to demonstrate their respective spacesuits around 2025.

NASA’s partnerships with Axiom and Collins Aerospace are also a key part of the agency’s efforts to promote the budding commercial space economy. The two companies will actually own the spacesuits they build and provide them along with other spacewalking systems as a service.

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