NASA reveals spacesuit for mission that could be worn by first woman on the moon

A prototype of the NASA spacesuit to be worn by astronauts on the Artemis III Moon mission later this decade. Photo: Axiom Space via NASA

NASA and Axiom Space unveiled Wednesday the first prototype of a "next generation" spacesuit for humanity's return to the moon in 2025 during an event in Houston, Texas.

Why it matters: The suits will be key to NASA's plans to send people to the Moon and the space agency has pledged to send the first woman and first person of color to the Moon on the Artemis missions.

  • Past spacesuits weren't made with women in mind and NASA canceled its planned first all-female spacewalk in 2019 due to a lack of medium-sized spacesuits available on the International Space Station.
  • This new spacesuit, called Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or AxEMU, is more flexible and designed to "fit a broad range of crew members," accommodating at least 90% of the U.S. male and female population, per a NASA statement.

What they're saying: "Axiom's next generation spacesuits will not only enable the first woman to walk on the Moon, but they will also open opportunities for more people to explore and conduct science on the Moon than ever before," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a statement.

  • Michael Suffredini, president and CEO of Axiom Space, said in a statement that the Texas-based company's spacesuit for the Artemis III mission "will be ready to meet the complex challenges of the lunar south pole and help grow our understanding of the Moon in order to enable a long-term presence there."

The intrigue: The prototype suit unveiled at the Johnson Space Center was black with blue and orange detailing, but since a spacesuit worn on the Moon "must be white to reflect heat and protect astronauts from extreme high temperatures, a cover layer is currently being used for display purposes only to conceal the suit's proprietary design," per an Axiom statement.

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