NASA is working with commercial companies to return humanity to the Moon. When NASA returns astronauts to the lunar surface in 2025 they will wear new spacesuits designed by Axiom Space. It will be the first time in 50 years that humans set foot on our closest celestial neighbor. On March 15, NASA unveiled a prototype of the new Axiom spacesuits that astronauts will wear for moonwalks after the SpaceX Starship Human Landing System (HLS) lands them on the Lunar South Pole as part of the Artemis III mission.
The spacesuit is called – Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit (AxEMU). It is built to provide vital life support, mobility, and protection, so that the astronauts can withstand the harsh environment as they explore. AxEMU was unveiled at the Space Center Houston’s Moon 2 Mars Festival. The suit’s technology is designed by NASA and Axiom engineers. Company representatives said that the final version of the AxEMU will actually be white color. “Since a spacesuit worn on the Moon must be white to reflect heat and protect astronauts from extreme high temperatures, a cover layer is currently being used for display purposes only to conceal the suit’s proprietary design. Axiom Space collaborated with costume designer Esther Marquis from the Apple TV+ series, ‘For All Mankind’ to create this custom cover layer using the Axiom Space logo and brand colors,” shared company representatives.
The company is in the process of manufacturing “a full fleet of training spacesuits” that are expected to be completed by this Summer. “Our expert team is ready to provide NASA the next-generation spacesuit,” said Mark Greeley, Axiom Space, Extravehicular Activity (EVA) program manager. “We carefully considered years of lessons learned by NASA and used that experience to build a spacesuit for the Moon and for our future Axiom Space customers.”
During the Artemis III mission, a crew of four will lift off on NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket which will propel them to orbit aboard the Orion spacecraft. Orion is designed to dock to SpaceX’s Starship HLS in lunar orbit. When Orion docks to Starship, two crewmembers will transfer to Starship HLS to land on the Lunar South Pole. The other two astronauts will remain aboard Orion to monitor the landing operations from lunar orbit. The pair of astronauts that SpaceX Starship HLS will land on the moon’s surface are expected to be a man and a woman. They will wear Axiom’s AxEMU spacesuits during their week-long lunar exploration mission moonwalks."We’re carrying on NASA’s legacy by designing an advanced spacesuit that will allow astronauts to operate safely and effectively on the Moon,” said Axiom Space president and CEO Michael T. Suffredini . “Axiom Space’s Artemis III spacesuit will be ready to meet the complex challenges of the Lunar South Pole and help grow our understanding of the Moon in order to enable a long-term presence there,” they stated.
NASA hopes to build a permanent lunar base after it retires the International Space Station. The Artemis program will enable the agency to set this goal in motion starting with the Artemis III mission. “NASA’s partnership with Axiom is critical to landing astronauts on the Moon and continuing American leadership in space. Building on NASA’s years of research and expertise, Axiom’s next generation spacesuits will not only enable the first woman to walk on the Moon, but they will also open opportunities for more people to explore and conduct science on the Moon than ever before,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Our partnership is investing in America, supporting America’s workers, and demonstrating another example of America’s technical ingenuity that will position NASA and the commercial space sector to compete – and win – in the 21st century.”
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Featured Image Source: Axiom Space
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.