A prototype of the new NASA spacesuit, designed by Axiom Space for the planned Artemis III moon landing mission, was displayed at the Houston Space Center Wednesday.
The Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit, as the spacesuit is officially called, is part of a general moonwalking system developed by Axiom Space for the mission. The Artemis III mission, which aims to land on the south pole of the Moon, is projected to launch no earlier than 2025.
As opposed to the earlier moon missions where NASA developed and launched its own technology, the new mission relies on contracting moonwalking services to Axiom.
NASA will have rights to the technology developed and data gathered by Axiom and other private industry partners. Raytheon Technologies subsidiary Collins Aerospace has also been contracted to develop spacesuits for NASA.
“NASA is leading the way in enabling a growing space economy by leveraging industry capabilities and NASA’s expertise to provide moonwalking services as safely, effectively and efficiently as possible,” NASA Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Mobility Manager Laura Kearney said.
The suits appear different in the prototype than they will on the moon, being covered in an extra layer bearing Axiom Space’s logo and dark gray, orange and blue color scheme.
The final suits worn on the moon will be white, like earlier spacesuits, so as to reflect heat and keep astronauts cool and safe while operating on the lunar surface.
NASA had not updated its spacesuits in decades, with the current iteration being developed for the launch of the International Space Station.
Axiom Space sees its work as building on past NASA success.
“We’re carrying on NASA’s legacy. … 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,” Axiom Space CEO Michael Suffredini, who was NASA’s International Space Station program manager from 2005 to 2015, said.