NASA has been using its current spacesuits on the International Space Station for many years, and they are beginning to show their age. Not only is NASA struggling to accommodate its increasingly diverse astronaut team, but certain components of the suits are deteriorating.
NASA has enlisted the help of Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace, a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies, to build and maintain its new generation of spacesuits.
Through the Exploration Extravehicular Activity Services Contract (xEVAS), NASA is awarding Collins and Axiom, as well as several of their industry partners, up to $3.5 billion through 2034.
CNBC got a sneak peek at the new suit Collins Aerospace is developing with partners ILC Dover and Oceaneering. NASA expects the new suit to be used on the International Space Station by 2026.
It’s great to see people’s enthusiasm for spacesuits! The comments cover various aspects of spacesuit development, design, and future applications.
Some people were surprised by the complexity of spacesuits, while others suggested ways to improve the suits, such as using static electricity to repel dust on the moon.
Some were also curious about the durability of the suits on the lunar surface, and whether they would hold up under the pressure of the vacuum.
Overall, there is a lot of excitement about the possibilities of spacesuits, and people are looking forward to seeing how they will be used in the future.
The aging Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs) used on the International Space Station (ISS) are being replaced by a new spacesuit being developed by NASA. Due to a lack of funding for new designs, the EMUs have been repaired and maintained over the years.
NASA has spent over a decade and an estimated $420 million developing a next-generation spacesuit to replace its aging spacesuits without producing any operational suits.
Currently, NASA has contracted with commercial companies Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace Industry Team to manufacture its new suits. In addition to providing modern technology and addressing safety concerns associated with the aging EMUs, the new suits will be designed to accommodate a more diverse astronaut corps and address inventory issues with the EMUs.
Similar to the EMUs, the new suits will feature a portable life support system (PLSS) and a pressure garment system (PGS) that maintains pressure around the astronaut’s body to ensure survival in space and protect them from orbital debris. The new suits will be used on the International Space Station by 2026.