The space agency faces a serious engineering challenge: building a new spacesuit in time for the 2024 deadline.
Spacesuits are arguably an astronaut’s most vital tool in space. The fits are designed for a specific mission and tailored to a specific astronaut to permit her or him to work safely in a vacuum.
For the Artemis mission to the Moon, NASA astronauts will need to have the flexibility to bend down, examine rocks and acquire samples — multi functional-sixth the gravity on Earth.
While these tasks don’t sound notably difficult, they’re when contending with the bulky mass of a spacesuit that effectively acts as a human-shaped spacecraft.
“We wish you not to have to consider the suit at all,” NASA spacesuit engineer Lindsay Aitchison advised Axios. “Anything you just do appears like working in your common shirtsleeves.”
Aitchison and the other NASA engineers engaged in the suit are also new methods of constructing spacesuit parts — via 3D printing and other technologies — to make the fits more light-weight and maneuverable.
NASA’s new suits have been in development for some time and will need to fit quite a lot of different bodies because the agency goals to ship the first woman to the Moon.
NASA plans to check parts of the brand new suit as early as next year on the International Space Station.
In accordance with NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, the spacesuits in development can even be utilized in low-Earth orbit (LEO) and on the Moon, presenting interesting design and engineering challenges for those building it.
“The necessities of Moon suits are more challenging than LEO alone. However, the suit we use on the Moon may also meet the needs of the International Space Station with very little, if any, modifications,” Aitchison mentioned.