Nasa has unveiled the first prototype for a new spacesuit design expected to be worn on the planned Artemis III mission to return to the Moon.

The new spacesuit, called Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or AxEMU, has been designed by Axiom Space, an American space infrastructure developer company, Nasa said in a Wednesday announcement.

The space agency detailed that the new spacesuit accommodates a wider range of body types and is also suitable for women.

The design is also more flexible compared to past models. Furthermore, it can handle the extreme cold of permanently shadowed areas on the Moon.

This comes as Artemis III, currently slated for December 2025, will land the first woman and first person of color on the surface of the Moon. The space journey will be the first crewed lunar landing since Apollo 17 landed on the Moon in 1972.

“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 comment.

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AxEMU Spacesuit Provides “Advanced Capabilities” for Space Exploration

The AxEMU spacesuit will provide astronauts with “advanced capabilities” for space exploration, ensuring astronauts are equipped with all tools and pieces of equipment required to live and work on and around the Moon, Axiom said in a recent press release.

“Axiom Space’s Artemis III spacesuit 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,” Michael T. Suffredini, Axiom Space president and CEO, said.

The new spacesuit prototype looked black and came with blue and orange detailing. However, Axiom said the actual spacesuits worn by astronauts will be white to reflect heat and protect astronauts from extreme high temperatures.

The company collaborated with costume designer Esther Marquis, who worked on the Apple TV+ Sci-Fi series For All Mankind, to create the custom cover layer using the Axiom Space logo and brand colors.

Axiom noted that the design of the spacesuits borrows from NASA’s own research.

Read also: Japan Discovers Space is Not Easy as its Next Gen Rocket Fails on First Test Flight

Nasa Canceled All-Female Spacewalk Due to Lack of Spacesuit

A well-fitting suit is crucial to prevent excessive fatigue and even physical harm to astronauts.

Back in 2019, Nasa had to cancel its planned all-female spacewalk due to a lack of suitable spacesuits. At the time, the space agency said it didn’t have two spacesuits in the correct size for both women.

It is worth noting that developing new spacesuits has been a years-long effort at NASA. The agency spent close to $200 million on space suit development before inking a $3.5 billion deal with Axiom Space in 2022 to take over production of the spacesuits.

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