Axiom Space, the private company that will assist NASA on the Artemis III mission that will put humans back on the Moon, has unveiled the astronaut suits that will be used on the mission. This is still a prototype, and the final design is currently being covered up, presumably to protect certain important aspects of its development from being stolen by competitors. Still, we can see how different it is from the suits of today or those from over 50 years ago, when humans last went to the moon.
The Axiom Space suit will allow better mobility in low gravity
The prototype is called the Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit, AxEMU, and is based on a NASA design of the xEMU suit. It is specifically made to accommodate people of many sizes and shapes, and entry to the suit is through the back, in addition to the life support system. With multiple inflection points, astronauts will be able to do more things with the suit on. They’ll be able to bend over, kneel and walk comfortably in the Moon’s low gravity.
The suit is made specifically to withstand extreme temperatures, and is even capable of surviving on the dark side of the Moon, where the sun never reaches.
The helmet is now equipped with an HD camera for capturing photos and video and transmitting the footage live to Earth. Along with a camera comes an LED light system for easier seeing in dark environments.
The final design is protected by a “cover” made by a film costume designer
However, it appears that NASA will not own the design for this suit, as it is the property of Axiom Space. The private company will offer the suits on demand for various missions. It looks like NASA will try to work with several companies over time on astronaut suits. For the next Artemis missions, NASA might choose another partner that could come up with a completely different design.
Currently, we can’t see the final design, but a covered version, similar to what we see in automotive with prototype cars, covered to protect the design. The cover that was put over was made by the creator of the suits from the For All Mankind series on Apple TV+, and the black color is only chosen for the cover. Underneath it, the suits are white to better withstand high temperatures.
The Artemis III mission is scheduled for December 2025 and will mark the first manned lunar landing since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. The mission will also see some historic moments: the first woman to walk on the surface of the moon, and the first black person to do so. The mission is scheduled to last about a week on the moon’s surface, with four surface exploration missions planned. These involve rover expeditions and collecting ice samples. Only two of the four crew members will carry out these expeditions. The other two members will remain aboard the Orion capsule.
The vehicle responsible for this trip will, of course, be SpaceX’s Starship, which hasn’t yet passed all the necessary tests to ensure a safe trip, but should do so in the next few months.