Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace have been chosen by NASA to manufacture spacesuits for the moon programme and future International Space Station (ISS) flights. According to Agence France Press, they will replace the current suits, which were created 40 years ago (AFP).
“History will be made with the suits when we get to the Moon. We will have our first person of color and our first woman that will be wearers and users of these suits in space,” The director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Vanessa Wyche, told reporters. NASA had planned to construct the suits in-house, but faced substantial development delays.
The collaboration with the two enterprises is in keeping with the agency’s decision to form public-private partnerships. “This policy aims at saving some costs, as NASA has joint investments with companies from the private sector,” explained Wyche.
The contracts’ prices have yet to be revealed, but they have a cumulative worth of $3.5 billion through 2034.
NASA might choose between the two businesses, only one, or add more later. However, once the suits are finished, the firms will own them and be responsible for their upkeep. Axiom Space, which has already taken two visitors to the International Space Station on a SpaceX mission, is planning to establish its own space station, which will need the development of its own space suits for future customers.
“We had previously intended to design our own space suits for our programme, so it will be fantastic to assist NASA in this area,” said Mike Suffredini, the company’s CEO. The US space agency outlined the technical requirements for the suits that will be used to go around the Moon and in low orbit around the International Space Station.