NASA has selected Axiom Space to develop a moonwalking system for the Artemis III, which will put humans back on the surface of the Moon for the first time in 50 years. The contract, with a base value of $228.5 million is a task order to develop the next-generation Artemis spacesuit and supporting systems and to demonstrate their use on the lunar surface during Artemis III.
The space agency used its 50 years of spacesuit experience to define the technical and safety requirements for the next generation of spacesuits. Houston-based Axiom Space will be responsible for the design, development, qualification, certification and production of the spacesuits and support equipment.
The astronaut testing, mission planning, and approval of the service systems will be conducted by NASA experts and Axiom will have to test the suits in a spacelike environment before Artemis III. The space agency’s Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Mobility Program (EHP) will manage the spacesuit contract, which help the agency advance its spacewalking capabilities in low-Earth orbit and on the Moon.
“NASA is proud to partner with commercial industry on this historic mission that will kickstart the United States building a lasting presence on the surface of the Moon. What we learn on Artemis III and future missions on and around the Moon will pave the way for missions to Mars. Spacesuits enable us to literally take that next step,” said Lara Kearney, manager of NASA’s EHP, in a press statement.
Under EHP contracts, eligible private companies will compete for task orders that will provide a full suite of capabilities for NASA’s spacewalking and moonwalking needs. Future task orders will include those for recurring lunar landings, developing spacesuits for use in low-Earth orbit outside the International Space Station, and special studies.