NASA released its latest generation of spacesuits Tuesday in advance of planned missions to the moon and beyond.
NASA Administrator Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineSpaceX all-civilian crew returns to Earth, successfully completing 3-day mission SpaceX all-civilian crew calls Tom Cruise from space How will Biden's Afghanistan debacle impact NASA's Artemis return to the moon? MORE told a crowd of local students, agency interns and reporters that the suits for the Artemis 3 mission, which will take "the next man and the first woman" to the moon, will be built with inclusivity in mind to “fit all of our astronauts when they go to the moon.”
NASA in March had to cancel plans for its first all-female spacewalk when it found that only one suit for women was available on the International Space Station.
With Artemis, finding suits to fit female astronauts won’t be a problem, NASA said. Male and female astronauts will soon wear gender-neutral suits.
The new xEMU suits will be worn during extra vehicular activities (EVAs), like when they’re on the lunar surface, and they’re allow for different parts to be mixed and matched with different sizes.
Bridenstine and NASA spacesuit engineers said the suit's increased mobility in the joints and at the waist will allow Artemis astronauts to do much more on the moon than Apollo astronauts could 50 years ago.
The xEMU suit wasn’t the only new design NASA unveiled on Tuesday. The agency also modeled a new survival flight suit — the orange jumpsuit that astronauts will wear for takeoff and landing — called the Orion.
Both suits also have new safety features. Astronauts could be protected from temperature variations from 250°Fahrenheit to minus 250° Fahrenheit while wearing the xEMU in the vacuum of space.
Christopher Hansen, the manager at the agency’s EVA office, said the xEMU suit will “continuously scrub” carbon dioxide, which will make it more resource-efficient than older suits.
Gohmert told reporters that the Orion survival suit will “be the backup in case anything ever goes wrong” during takeoff or landing during an Artemis mission.
More than 50 years after the first Apollo moon landing, Bridenstine said NASA is committed to sending a woman to the moon with the Artemis mission — named for the twin sister of the Greek god Apollo.
“As much as we love Apollo,” he said, “in those days there were no opportunities for women. Today we have an extremely diverse, highly qualified astronaut corps that includes women. And they are extremely excited about going to the moon.”
The initial goal was to send astronauts to the moon by 2028, but President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE announced in March that he wanted the Artemis 3 mission ready by 2024.
The Artemis program’s ultimate goal is to launch a manned mission to Mars from the moon. But before any of that can happen, Bridenstine said, “we need spacesuits.”