NASA Boosts Task Orders for Revolutionary Spacewalking and Moonwalking Technology

NASA has awarded task orders to Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace to expand its options for spacewalking and moonwalking suits. The task orders, Exploration Extravehicular Activity Services, include a spacesuit for use in low-Earth orbit from Axiom Space and a spacesuit for Artemis missions on the lunar surface from Collins Aerospace. Each task order is valued at $5 million.

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Spacewalking and Moonwalking Technology

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TopicSummary
NASA’s ExpansionNASA awards task orders to Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace for spacewalking and moonwalking suits.
Purpose of ExpansionNASA aims to enhance its commercial space industry and support exploration in low-Earth orbit, the moon, and Mars.
Axiom Space’s RoleAxiom Space will develop a spacesuit for moonwalking during Artemis III and assess it for use outside the ISS.
Collins Aerospace’s RoleCollins Aerospace will develop a spacesuit for spacewalks in microgravity outside the ISS and assess it for lunar surface use.
Redundancy and Suit CompatibilityNASA seeks redundancy in suit systems despite differences between low-Earth orbit and the lunar surface.
Future ConsiderationsNASA awards Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace task orders for spacewalking and moonwalking suits.
Spacewalking and Moonwalking Technology

Enhancing NASA’s Commercial Spacewalking and Moonwalking Technology

  • The task orders aim to bolster NASA’s commercial space industry as part of the agency’s long-term goals for exploration in low-Earth orbit, the moon, and Mars.
  • By partnering with commercial companies, NASA seeks to increase redundancy, expand capabilities, and invest in the space economy.

Spacesuit Development and Assessments

  • Axiom Space is under contract to develop a spacewalking and moonwalking system for partial gravity on the moon during Artemis III.
  • Additionally, Axiom Space will assess the same spacesuit for use outside the International Space Station (ISS).
  • Mark Greeley, Axiom Space EVA program manager, expressed excitement about providing spacesuits for NASA’s Artemis missions and becoming a developer for future ISS missions.
  • Collins Aerospace has been developing a spacewalking system for microgravity outside the ISS and will begin assessments for that suit on the moon.
  • Dave Romero, director of EVA & Human Surface Mobility Systems for Collins Aerospace, stated that their next-generation spacesuit design is almost 90% compatible with a lunar mission.

Redundancy and Suit Compatibility

  • Despite the differences between low-Earth orbit and the lunar surface, NASA is seeking redundancy in the suit systems.
  • These differences include variances in gravitational fields, natural space environments such as radiation, and mission tasks like floating in microgravity or walking in partial gravity.
Spacewalking and Moonwalking Technology

Future Considerations

  • NASA plans to fulfill its spacewalking needs through 2034 and will decide whether to pursue the full extent of the task order options with the providers.
  • This includes completing all safety verifications and performing a flight demonstration.
  • As part of the Exploration Extravehicular Activity Services contract, each provider will own their spacesuits and be free to pursue other commercial customers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1. What is spacesuit technology?

Spacesuit technology refers to the design, development, and engineering of specialized garments worn by astronauts to protect them in the harsh conditions of space. Spacesuits provide life support systems, thermal regulation, radiation shielding, mobility, and communication capabilities necessary for extravehicular activities (EVAs) and survival in space. These advanced suits are designed to withstand the vacuum of space, temperature extremes, and micrometeoroids, and provide the necessary life support for astronauts to perform tasks outside their spacecraft.

Q2. What is the purpose of the spacewalk?

The purpose of a spacewalking and moonwalking, also known as extravehicular activity (EVA), is to allow astronauts to venture outside their spacecraft and perform various tasks or repairs in the vacuum of space. Spacewalks are conducted for the maintenance, assembly, and repair of space equipment, as well as for scientific experiments, testing new technologies, and conducting observations. They are critical for space exploration, satellite servicing, and construction of space structures, enabling astronauts to work outside the confines of their spacecraft and interact with the space environment.

Q3. What are the task orders awarded by NASA for spacewalking and moonwalking suits?

NASA has awarded task orders to Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace for the development of spacesuits. Axiom Space will provide a spacesuit for low-Earth orbit use, while Collins Aerospace will develop a spacesuit for Artemis missions on the lunar surface.

Q4. What is the purpose of expanding NASA’s options for spacesuits?

The expansion aims to bolster NASA’s commercial space industry and support long-term goals for exploration in low-Earth orbit, the moon, and Mars.

Q5. How will Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace contribute to spacesuit development?

Axiom Space will develop a spacesuit for moonwalking during Artemis III and assess its use outside the International Space Station (ISS). Collins Aerospace will develop a spacesuit for spacewalks in microgravity outside the ISS and assess its suitability for lunar surface tasks.

Q6. What factors does NASA consider in spacesuit development?

NASA aims to ensure redundancy in suit systems despite the differences between low-Earth orbit and the lunar surface. Factors such as varying gravitational fields, natural space environments like radiation, and mission tasks like floating in microgravity or walking in partial gravity are taken into account.

Q7. What are NASA’s plans regarding spacesuits?

NASA intends to fulfill its spacewalking needs through 2034. The agency will decide whether to pursue the full extent of the task order options with the providers, complete safety verifications and conduct a flight demonstration. The providers will own their spacesuits and can pursue other commercial customers as well.

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