NASA unveils new spacesuits for upcoming Moon mission

James Marshall
October 19, 2019

It's fashion week for NASA. 'There will be fewer seams and new materials that keep the dust out'.

Funding and technical challenges still need to come together in order to meet the White House-set deadline, the former space shuttle and space station commander told a congressional subcommittee last month.

Boeing is building the core stages of the rockets that will fly on the first two Artemis missions.

One of the spacesuits, called Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or xEMU for short, will be worn by astronauts while exploring the surface of the moon's South Pole.

Dustin Gohmert, project manager for Orion Crew Survival Systems, followed her into the spotlight, wearing a suit prototype designed for use during launch, re-entry and in-flight emergencies.

These particular suits are created to be worn during take-off and landing, and for protection within the spacecraft and the ISS.

In 1969, seven years after US President John Kennedy made his 1962 "We choose to go to the moon" speech, Apollo 11 astronauts landed on and explored the lunar surface.

During lunar expeditions, NASA said a team of crew members will remain aboard the Gateway while a separate team will explore the surface of the moon.

Using the most advanced technologies, the campaign will allow future astronauts to stay longer on the surface of the moon, explore more of the moon and build a sustainable presence. "We can fit anywhere from the first percentile female to the 99th percentile male, said Amy Ross, one of NASA's spacesuit designers during Tuesday's demonstration".

The various life-support components contained in the "backpack" of the suit have also been miniaturized, meaning there are now duplicates for many parts of the system-reducing the risk of critical failures with the oxygen supply or other critical features.

The next time USA astronauts touch down on the Moon, we can expect them to walk nearly as they do on Earth, thanks to the new-generation spacesuits that are several levels over those from the Apollo-era.

The bright orange color makes it easier to spot astronauts in the ocean on Earth after reentry if they have to exit the spacecraft before recovery crews arrive.

The suits are created to fit a person of practically any size. The first phase will focus on landing the next man and first woman on the moon by 2024. The xEMU is due to get a tryout on the space station in the early 2020s, setting the stage for a star turn on the moon in 2024.

The other spacesuit unveiled was the Orion Crew Survival Suit.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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