NASA is already packing for its subsequent Moon touchdown, and it’s ordering some new spacesuits for the journey. It has awarded a $228.5 million contract to Axiom Space to make a “moonwalking system” for the company’s return journey to the lunar floor, NASA introduced Wednesday.
Axiom was one in every of two corporations within the operating to make spacesuits for NASA’s Artemis program, which is aiming to ship astronauts again to the Moon for the primary time in additional than 50 years. NASA already has a restricted provide of spacesuits to be used on the International Space Station, however lunar spacesuits must be very totally different. In addition to excessive temperature swings, they’ll need to deal with the Moon’s gravity and the notoriously problematic lunar mud that tends to stay to every part.
NASA had been working by itself Moon spacesuits and unveiled the works-in-progress in 2019. But final yr, a report discovered that the event of these fits was delayed and that they wouldn’t be prepared in time for the deliberate lunar touchdown. Instead, in June, NASA introduced that it had determined to outsource the event of its lunar spacesuit to 2 corporations: Collins Aerospace, which has expertise constructing spacesuits for NASA, and Axiom Space.
Axiom beforehand organized to ship the primary totally non-public crew to the International Space Station on a SpaceX rocket. The firm’s long-term targets embrace setting up a industrial house station.
NASA plans to make use of Axiom’s spacesuits on the long run Artemis III mission, which can land the primary girl on the Moon. But first, the company must get the Artemis I mission off the bottom. That mission, which can ship an uncrewed capsule out previous the Moon, will function a check mission for future flights, together with Artemis III. It has been repeatedly delayed.