NASA announced Wednesday that it has hired two companies, Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace, to create space suits worn by future astronauts on the moon. These suits will also be used for the International Space Station (ISS), which replaces the existing ones, which have been in use for about forty years. “History will be made of these compounds,” Vanessa Wise, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, told a news conference.
“The first person of color and the ‘first woman to set foot on the moon’ will wear these dresses,” he pointed out. NASA had originally planned to build these new generation suits, but was far behind on schedule. The choice to finally hand over to the two companies confirms the importance the US company has placed on the public-private partnership in recent years.
“It allows us to save some money because we share the investment,” Vanessa argued. Both companies are investing a significant amount of their own money, NASA said in a statement. Details of the respective contracts have not yet been released, but the total ceiling for service the project will provide until 2034 is $ 3.5 billion.
In the end the agency has the right to choose only one of the two companies or to combine both or the other. But they will be the owners of the clothes and will be responsible for their maintenance.
Moon and ISS are two contexts with different challenges
Axiom Space, which has already teamed up with SpaceX to send astronauts to ISS, plans to build its own space station. Thus the company will need a space suite for its future customers. “We planned to build a suite as part of our project, so it’s great to benefit from NASA’s years of experience,” said Axiom space boss Michael Safredini.
NASA has outlined the full range of requirements and requirements for operating on the Moon and traveling in low orbit around the ISS. No two scenarios present the same challenges, for example the weight of the suit is not an issue in terms of weight, while dust on the moon must be taken into account.
It remains to be seen whether Axium Space and Collins Aerospace will be a combination or two separately. The goal is to allow Dan Burbank of Collins Aerospace and himself to wear “as much movement as possible” abbreviated as a former astronaut.
Both companies plan to meet all requirements by 2025 – the planned year for Artemis 3, the mission to land humans back on the moon.
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