CAPE CANAVERAL (CBSMiami) – As NASA prepares to send astronauts back to the moon for the first time in more than 50 years, the space agency is developing spacesuits for the next generation of men and women heading for space exploration.
NASA held a fashion show to unveil its newest spacesuit, designed for better comfort and safety, including features to protect against lunar dust.
“Zippers are bad and cables are bad so we have no zippers or cables on this suit,” explained Amy Ross, a spacesuit engineer for NASA. “There will be fewer seams and new materials that keep the dust out.”
The new design is based on the original Apollo suits like the worn by Neil Armstrong in 1969 with some key improvements, including a customized fit and more flexible joints for greater mobility.
“If we remember the Apollo generation, Armstrong and Aldrin bunny hopped on the surface of the moon. Now we’re actually going to be able to walk,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
The old helmets will be swapped for a high-tech version with voice activated microphones.
NASA also showed off its Orion suit, which the crew will wear during launch. It can keep astronauts safe for up to six days in case of emergency.
“That’s no small feat to be able to live in a volume only a couple of inches bigger than your body for six whole days,” said NASA Project Manager Dustin Gohmert.
The new suits are for the Artemis Project, which is planning a lunar landing in 2024. NASA plans to give them a spin on the International Space Station to check performance before making the giant leap to the moon.
Later this month, NASA officials will try again to conduct their first all-female spacewalk outside of the ISS about seven months after their first attempt was foiled by an ill-fitting suit.