Now we know what NASA’s next lunar rovers will be wearing.
NASA announced Wednesday (Sept. 7) that it has selected the Houston company Axiom Cosmos build a moon space suits for Artemis 3, a mission that aims to land astronauts near the moon’s south pole in 2025 or 2026.
Artemis 3 make the first crewed landing on the moon after the finale Apollo flight in 1972 if all goes according to plan. And NASA intends to keep coming back with its own Artemis programestablishing a manned outpost on Earth’s nearest neighbor by the late 2020s.
On the topic: Space suit evolution in pictures
“NASA is proud to partner with commercial industry on this historic mission, which will begin building the United States’ enduring presence on the surface month” – Lara Kearney, NASA Program Manager for Extravehicular Activities and Human Surface Mobility, the statement said (opens in a new tab).
“What we learn about Artemis 3 and future missions to and around the Moon will pave the way for missions to Mars” Kearney added. “Spacesuits allow us to literally take the next step.”
In June of this year NASA announced that it has selected Axiom and a team led by Collins Aerospace to design and build spacesuits for future missions to the Moon and International space station. Two private teams have been awarded the right to compete for a total of up to $3.5 billion by 2034.
This money will be issued through a series of “challenges”. The recently announced Artemis 3 award is one such order and has a base value of $228.5 million.
“Using more than 50 years of spacesuit experience, NASA has defined the technical and safety requirements for the next generation of spacesuits. Axiom Space will be responsible for the design, development, qualification, certification and production of its spacesuits and support equipment that meet these requirements. the agency’s key requirements for Artemis 3,” agency officials said in a statement Wednesday.
“NASA experts will retain authority over astronaut training, mission planning and maintenance systems approval,” they added. “Axiom Space will be needed to test suits in the space environment before Artemis 3”.
NASA officials said the future mission order will cover subsequent crewed Artemis missions.
NASA has yet to launch an Artemis mission, but that should change soon. The agency is preparing for the next launch attempt Artemis 1which will send the agency’s Orion capsule on an uncrewed trip to lunar orbit and back.
NASA attempted to launch Artemis 1 on August 29 and September 3, but scored both attempts due to technical problems. The agency has not yet announced a target date for the next attempt.
Mike Wall is the author of “There (opens in a new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrations by Carl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in a new tab) or further Facebook (opens in a new tab).