Last June, NASA awarded contracts for the next generation moon exploration spacesuits to Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace. Today, nine and a half months later, Axiom Space publicly showed their advanced spacesuit for the first time. The suit is based on NASA's xEMU suit that was developed by the engineers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston
Houston – When astronauts return to the Moon for the first time in over 50 years as part of NASA’s Artemis III mission, they will be wearing Axiom Space’s next-generation spacesuit to walk on the lunar surface.
“We’re carrying on NASA’s legacy by designing an advanced spacesuit that will allow astronauts to operate safely and effectively on the Moon,” said Michael T. Suffredini, Axiom Space president and CEO. “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.”
has more photos and a short video showing the suit with someone inside
demonstrating some of how it works.
Now it's time to say the quiet part out loud. This isn't actually the suit
they'll be wearing.
Since a spacesuit worn on the Moon must be white to reflect heat and protect astronauts from extreme high temperatures, a cover layer is currently being used for display purposes only to conceal the suit’s proprietary design. Axiom Space collaborated with costume designer Esther Marquis from the Apple TV+ series, “For All Mankind” to create this custom cover layer using the Axiom Space logo and brand colors.
My interpretation of that first sentence is that they're concerned Collins Aerospace might use knowledge of
what Axiom has done to improve their competing suits. Or perhaps another competitor, real or imagined.
Axiom Space partnered with a team of industry experts to create the AxEMU, including KBR, Air-Lock, Arrow Science and Technology, David Clark Company, Paragon Space Development Corporation, Sophic Synergistics and A-P-T Research. Though Axiom has trained privately-funded crews (AX-1 mission) to launch to and live on the International Space Station and is developing its own commercial space station, this is the first time that the company has built a pressurized garment for use in space, let alone the moon.
Space.com adds the note that, “Unlike the iconic garments worn by the Apollo astronauts more than 50 years, this new suit is a "rental" — designed, built and soon to be leased to the space agency by Axiom Space, a space services company.”