NASA Unveils New Spacesuit Design, Virgin Galactic Jumps on Bandwagon

Rodiano Bonacci
Ottobre 19, 2019

NASA has chosen Boeing (NYSE: BA) to manufacture up to 10 core stages and eight upper stages to power the Space Launch System on the agency's third to 12th deep-space exploration missions under the Artemis program.

A warning system in place will alert astronauts if suit resources are dwindling or if components have failed. But now, suit size will no longer be an issue. "These are our spacesuits for the Artemis generation". Earlier this week, NASA showcases its two spacesuits designed for lunar exploration - one for launch and re-entry aboard the agency's Orion spacecraft, known as the Orion Crew Survival Suit, and one for exploring the surface of the Moon's South Pole, known as the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU).

"The Orion suit is designed for a custom fit and incorporates safety technology and mobility features that will help protect astronauts on launch day, in emergency situations, high-risk parts of missions near the moon, and during the high-speed return to Earth". Unlike the spacesuits used for the Apollo missions, the new design completely lacks zippers and is completely protected against the fine lunar dust which proved to be a problem during the first moon missions. "Now, we are actually going to be able to walk on the surface of the moon, which is very different from our suits of the past".

The first SLS core stage was desiged, developed, tested and built by Boeing under the original NASA Stages contract, which included: refurbishing the manufacturing area at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF), building test versions of the SLS structures and designing more efficient, modern tooling. "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".

NASA still has to do further design refinements and testing to make sure the new spacesuits are good to go.

The fancy backpack carries air for the astronauts to breathe and removes carbon dioxide and other gases and odors wafting around inside the suit. Because the suits are not meant to be worn outside of the Orion crew capsule, they're allowed to be far sleeker and flexible.

"Astronauts will still wear a diaper-like garment during spacewalks that is a combination of commercial products stitched together for maximum absorption". There hasn't been an all-female event in more than a half-century of space walking.

Remember, the xEMU suit will be worn only for excursions outside the spacecraft, even on the moon or Mars.

Inside the moonwalking helmet is a new communications system.

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