Lunar haute couture now calls for something more form-fitting and appropriate for men and women alike.
NASA has unveiled the first prototype for a newly designed next-generation spacesuit specially tailored and accessorised for the first astronauts expected to venture back to the moon's surface in the next few years.
The latest in moon-wear was displayed on Wednesday at the Johnson Space Center in Houston during an event hosted for the media and students by Axiom Space, the Texas-based company contracted by NASA to build suits for Artemis, successor to the Apollo moon program.
NASA chief Bill Nelson said the new spacesuits "will open opportunities for more people to explore and conduct science on the moon then ever before".
Branded by Axiom as the "Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit," or AxEMU for short, the new suits are more streamlined and flexible than the old Apollo get-ups, with greater rang e of motion and variability in size and fit.
They are designed to fit a broad range of potential wearers, accommodating at least 90% of the US male and female population, NASA said. They also will incorporate advances in life-support systems, pressure garments and avionics.
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.@Axiom_Space revealed a spacesuit prototype that our @NASA_Astronauts plan to wear near the Moon’s South Pole on @NASA’s #Artemis III mission.— NASA Artemis (@NASAArtemis) March 15, 2023
The spacesuit will give lunar explorers extra mobility, protection, & the latest technology. Discover more: https://t.co/uxH21hkSjd pic.twitter.com/bqxcrwR6Y6
Different from bulky spacesuits
The Artemis I mission, the inaugural launch of NASA's powerful next-generation rocket and its newly built Orion spacecraft on an uncrewed test flight around the moon and back, was successfully completed in December.
The outfits worn to the moon by Artemis astronauts will look very different from the bulky spacesuits of yore.
The precise look of the suits, however, remained a closely guarded trade secret. Those on display came with an outer layer that was charcoal gray with dashes of orange and blue and Axiom's logo on the chest - intended to obscure Axiom's proprietary outer fabric design.
But the company said the suits to be worn on the lunar south pole by astronauts will be white because that is the best color to reflect the harsh sunlight on the moon's surface and protect the wearer from extreme heat.
Axiom said it collaborated with costume designer Ester Marquis from the Apple TV+ lunar series "For All Mankind" to create the custom cover layer using Axiom's logo and brand colors.
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