HOUSTON, Texas – When NASA sends the first astronauts to explore near the lunar South Pole, moonwalkers will wear spacesuits provided by Axiom Space. NASA selected the company to develop the modern suits for the Artemis III mission and participated in activities when the first prototype was revealed Wednesday during an event at Space Center Houston in Texas.
Artemis III will land astronauts, including the first woman, on the Moon to advance long-term lunar exploration and scientific discovery, and inspire the Artemis Generation. NASA selected Axiom Space to deliver the moonwalking system, including the spacesuit, for the mission. Called the Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or AxEMU, the spacesuit builds on NASA’s spacesuit prototype developments and incorporates the latest technology, enhanced mobility, and added protection from hazards on the Moon.
NASA chose to use a commercial services contract for the development of the new spacesuit, whereby NASA purchases moonwalking services from Axiom Space. Under this model, the company is encouraged to pursue other commercial customers for its moonwalking services. This mutually beneficial approach helps bolster an emerging commercial market and grants NASA the right to use the data and technologies developed under the contract for future exploration efforts.
NASA experts defined the technical and safety standards by which the spacesuits will be built, and Axiom Space agreed to meet these key agency requirements. The AxEMU features the range of motion and flexibility needed to explore more of the lunar landscape, and the suit will fit a broad range of crew members, accommodating at least 90 percent of the US male and female population. Axiom Space will continue to apply modern technological innovations in life support systems, pressure garments, and avionics as development continues.
Through Artemis, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, paving the way for a long-term, sustainable lunar presence to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before and prepare for future astronaut missions to Mars.