NASA's New and Improved Artemis Spacesuits Unveiled

Another key innovation including over the current generation of suits used for spacewalks on the International Space Station is the xEMU's unlimited capacity to absorb carbon dioxide

Another key innovation including over the current generation of suits used for spacewalks on the International Space Station is the xEMU's unlimited capacity to absorb carbon dioxide

NASA has unveiled two new space suits for its Artemis mission.

USA space agency NASA has presented the prototypes of spacesuits to be used for moonwalking in its ambitious Artemis moon programme that seeks to return humans to the Moon by 2024. NASA plans to test the Orion suit on the International Space Station. It will also modify them for future Mars missions.

Kristine Dans bends down to pick up a rock during a demonstration of the mobility of the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU), one of two NASA spacesuit prototypes for lunar exploration.

The other new suit is designed for used on the surface of the moon. Speaking at the event, NASA spacesuit engineer and lead of the xEMU project, Amy Ross, said that the new suit is more comfortable to wear as well as being more flexible than the original Apollo mission suits and those used for spacewalks on the International Space Station (ISS).

A second orange suit called the Orion Crew Survival System will be worn during launch and re-entry in the Orion spacecraft and provide thermal protection for the astronauts.

Both new suits can accommodate a broader range of astronaut sizes than the suits now aboard the space station, opening up moon flights to virtually anyone accepted in the astronaut corps. Between 1969 and 1972, six missions set down on the moon - a feat that has not been duplicated by the United States or any other nation since.

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The suits are the result of years of research and redesign into suit usability.

"This is the first suit we've designed in about 40 years", Chris Hansen, a manager at NASA's spacesuit design office, said. All crew members will ultimately board the Orion spacecraft for a return to Earth.

The suits are created to work in temperatures ranging from 250 degrees Fahrenheit down to minus 250 degrees Fahrenheit and potentially even colder places around the lunar South Pole, where NASA is aiming to send astronauts. It means that astronauts can replace only the visor before or after a spacewalk instead of sending an entire helmet back to Earth for repairs.

"The primary use in the case of an accidental depressurization", said Dustin Gohmert, a spacesuit engineer who modeled the Orion suit. Spacesuits being designed elsewhere have more futuristic and fashionable appearances. A point that the Apollo astronauts might be envious about. Unlike Space Shuttle flight suits, the Orion will be custom-fitted to the body of each astronaut.

Their spacesuits were at the centre of a controversy at NASA in March, as a previously-planned all-woman spacewalk had to be called off as the agency had only one medium-sized suit at the time.

One of its advantages compared with previous ones goes to its better mobility.

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