NASA has unveiled new space suits specifically designed for the Artemis generation missions that aim to bring America's first woman and America's next man to the surface of the moon by 2024. The new feature of the new design is greater mobility and flexibility, in general in every respect. NASA has presented both a full suit designed for off-vehicle use on the surface of the moon and a flight suit for use in transit to lunar orbit.
Managed by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein, the agency first demonstrates the suit that astronauts will use on the surface of the moon (and possibly Mars). It's called the "xEMU" variant and looks a lot like what you can think of when you imagine a "space suit" in your mind. But it is very different in many ways from what the astronauts used to visit the surface of the moon during the Apollo program.
This allows you to actually go to the moon, for example: The original costume used for moon-based activities actually only offers enough range of motion for Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to be able to " bunnies jump "on the moon's surface, in Bridenstein's own words. This new design allows them to move much more dynamically, including actually walking, and offers plenty of movement for their hands. Coupled with new gloves that actually allow astronauts to move their fingers freely, they can do things by lifting rocks off the moon's surface with relative ease. NASA Artemis Suitcases ”
The new suit design is also designed to work with just about anyone who might want to become an astronaut, with any size that can fit anyone from "the first percentile of females to 99th perpendiculars," according to Christine Davis, an advanced NASA space costume engineer and a man demonstrating the xEMU version of a costume on stage at Tuesday's event.
"We want every person who wants to go into space to be able to tell themselves that yes, they have this opportunity," Bridenstein added regarding the inclusive costume design.
As NASA also strives to ensure that this time when they return to the moon, they make it sustainable (which means with the intention of eventually creating a store and staying), they also designed this suit with much more a large range of temperature variations to ensure that it can serve both the north and south poles of the moon and around the equatorial region. This xEMU suit is designed to survive in temperature ranges between -250 and +250 degrees Fahrenheit.
NASA also talks about how this is an improvement on the space suit currently used at the International Space Station. On the one hand, this one has usable legs, where the legs of the ISS suits are essentially just for protection, since you don't use them in zero and microgravity.
The other suit, called the "Orion Crew Survival Suit," is a much lighter suit designed to be created to tie the weapons here, and means you have more range of reach and grip. worn during take-off and landing. It will usually be pressurized when used, but may provide protection in the event of a pressure drop. This was demonstrated by Dustin Gomert, project manager for the Orion Crew Costume Project, who explained that he also has thermal and radiation protection, though not up to xEMU levels.
The larger xEMU suit is also intentionally designed to be upgradable, somewhat like a PC motherboard, and designed to be upgraded and operated in space by astronauts to absorb new and improved technologies as they become available instead of having to go back to Earth for updates.
Bridenstein reiterated that NASA is also working with trading partners to supply the Artemis costume industry, as the agency announced earlier this month. It also strives for these companies to provide advice and information on what to do about future evolutions and improvements to the technology used in costume.
In general, Bridenstein clearly had no desire to speak about NASA's commercialization and impatience to work with trading partners on the Artemis program and about space in general.
"What NASA has already done is invested in the commercial rebuilding of the International Space Station […]. We have already invested in a sales crew. And in the first part of next year, we will relaunch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil for the first time since the retirement of space shuttles in 2011, "he said. "It will be a really positive development for our country, but it will be commercial […] And of course, we want to see very healthy commercial habitats in low Earth orbit as well. After all, what allows us to do is then take the resources that taxpayers give us and go to the moon and Mars, always monitoring commercialization even there. The purpose here is to extend humanity further into space than ever before. “