New Suits, New Explorers: NASA Announces Better Fitting Space Suit for Moon Mission


Image by Andreas H. on Pixabay

The newly designed space suits are better fit for the growing variety of people now being prepared for further lunar exploration.

NASA plans to once again send people to the Moon after almost five decades, but new missions call for new improvements. NASA plans to have new, better-fitting, and advanced suits prepared and ready for the 2025 Artemis III mission.

According to the Guardian, NASA announced that it is working with Axiom Space to create a new prototype suit that will not only better fit women, but about 90% of the United States male and female population. Unlike the Apollo 11 mission, where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the first steps on the Moon, and subsequent missions, the Artemis III mission will now allow women and people of color to be sent. The original suits used during the Apollo 11 mission were notably puffy and bulk-looking; however, the Axiom designed suits will be more form-fitting.

Based on information reported by BBC, having a form-fitting space suit is critical in preventing fatigue and potentially physical harm. For instance, NASA planned to send an all-female team to conduct a space walk from the International Space Station in 2019. However, just before astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch were prepared to carry out the mission, NASA realised they did not have two spacesuits that would properly fit them which could cause several problems. Evidently, Anne McClain had to be replaced by Nick Hague, so no harm would come of her if she had conducted the mission without proper suiting.

The suits will also include improvements in life-support systems, pressure garments, and avionics. According to BBC, unlike older suits, the Axiom design has joints stitched in to allow astronauts more flexibility. Not only this, but the helmet comes with built-in lights and a HD video camera. The boots are designed to withstand the freezing temperatures that would be found in darker and southern areas of the Moon’s surface.

Qualities such as these are incredibly important for the wearers as they will survey geology, retrieve samples, and collect other data whilst at the south pole of the Moon, so humanity can better understand the nature of the primarily unexplored area.

NASA stated that Axiom Space has been assigned authority for the design, development, qualification, certification, and production of the suits. While NASA will be in charge of the training of astronauts as well as mission planning, Axiom Space will conduct tests in and out of space-like environments to ensure the suits are at the highest quality and are prepared to take a new generation of astronauts with them.