The first woman and the next man who will visit the lunar south pole in 2024 are expected to wear NASA’s newest and most advanced spacesuits.
NASA has presented two spacesuits designed for the agency’s Artemis program, which aims to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024. The two spacesuits NASA showcased at an event organized on October 15, are designed for two separate parts of a manned mission to the moon.
One of the spacesuits called the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) is a red, white and blue suit designed to be worn by astronauts who explore the lunar surface, specifically the south pole of the moon, the target of the next manned lunar landing of NASA reports the space agency in a statement.
Kristine Davis, a spacesuit engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, was in charge of dressing this new spacesuit.
The second suit, the Orion Crew Survival System suit, is a bright orange pressure suit that astronauts will wear when they launch into space in the Orion capsule and return to Earth. It was presented at the event by NASA spacesuit engineer Dustin Gohmert.
It is noteworthy to mention that the xEMU suit will be the spacesuit worn on the surface of the Moon since NASA’s Apollo program sent the last astronauts to the moon in 1972. The new spacesuit includes a series of improvements to both the Apollo era spacesuits and those worn by astronauts participating in spacewalks at the International Space Station.
One specific improvement is the size and fit, NASA engineers revealed at the presentation. The xEMU suit is designed to fit a wide variety of sizes and NASA intends to fit better, be more comfortable and allow astronauts to move more easily while wearing the spacesuit.
The Orion launch and entry suit, designed for flights to and from the moon, also has a number of improvements compared to older NASA spacesuits.
One of the main features is that although it is a depressurized suit, unlike xEMU, it can be pressurized in an emergency.
The new Orion suits are bright orange spacesuits, following a tradition established by NASA’s Advanced Crew Escape Suit (ACES) during the space shuttle era, which had a similar pumpkin orange hue for visibility.