Astronauts on NASA’s trip to the moon in 2024 will be wearing new generation space suits that are specially designed to enhance their mobility and accomplish exploration of the lunar surface. NASA is designing these special suits called Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) that will be used during Artemis missions on the moon and will also be adaptable for use on other destinations. In a request for information note published early this month NASA is asking for feedback from the industry to refine and improve the acquisition strategy that will enable production of lunar spacesuits for multiple Artemis missions in forthcoming years.
NASA is prepared to build and accredit initial spacesuits that will be used in a demonstration of spaceflight environment on International Space Station in 2023. This will be the first test trip before actual trip to lunar surface in 2024 which is part of Artemis III mission. After the Artemis III mission NASA is planning to transition the responsibility of production, assembly, test, sustenance and maintenance of the next fleet of flights and training spacesuits along with associated hardware to the US industry. NASA has used the knowledge gained from 50 years of carrying out spacewalks for America and support of industry and academics to design and develop new technologies and systems.
This has helped in creating a flexible space exploration suit architecture that can be used in future missions to multiple destinations. This suit can be used for spacewalks in varied environments with respect to thermal conditions, dust and operational requirements like walking, driving rovers or collecting samples. The design is such that this suit can be used for multipurpose activities like spacewalks on ISS, Gateway region and also on future Mars missions. However for trip to Mars the core suit technology will have to upgrade to manage atmosphere in Mars and its gravity.