HomeSpaceCollins Aerospace chosen to develop new area station spacesuit

Collins Aerospace chosen to develop new area station spacesuit

WASHINGTON — NASA has chosen Collins Aerospace to develop a next-generation spacesuit for the Worldwide Area Station, changing getting old fits which have change into a security concern.

NASA awarded a activity order valued at $97.2 million to Collins to design, construct and show the swimsuit, which can exchange the prevailing, decades-old Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) fits used for spacewalks exterior the ISS. The duty order covers improvement of the swimsuit and testing on Earth in a simulated area atmosphere by January 2024.

An possibility within the activity order, whose worth was not disclosed, would contain demonstrating the swimsuit on an ISS spacewalk with NASA astronauts, no later than April 2026.

“Our next-generation spacesuit was constructed by astronauts for astronauts, persevering with Collins’ long-standing legacy as a trusted companion of NASA’s human area exploration,” mentioned Dave McClure, vp and normal supervisor at Collins, in an organization assertion. The Collins staff consists of ILC Dover and Oceaneering.

The corporate launched few particulars in regards to the design of the swimsuit, aside from to say it’s lighter and fewer cumbersome than the present EMU, bettering effectivity, vary of movement and luxury. The swimsuit can also be designed to suit “practically” any physique sort to fulfill NASA necessities.

NASA had been on the lookout for years at choices to interchange the EMUs, that are many years outdated and displaying indicators of getting old. NASA halted spacewalks exterior the station for a number of months earlier this 12 months after noticing water within the helmet of an astronaut, Matthias Maurer, throughout a March spacewalk. An investigation discovered no {hardware} flaw with the swimsuit, and NASA concluded in October that “built-in system efficiency” involving a number of variables precipitated the water to gather within the swimsuit helmet.

NASA mentioned it up to date procedures and developed “new mitigation {hardware}” to reduce water accumulation and to soak up any water that does accumulate within the helmet. With these measures, NASA resumed spacewalks on the ISS in November.

NASA’s Aerospace Security Advisory Panel has been carefully monitoring the problem. The panel, which gives recommendation to NASA on issues of safety, had lengthy been involved with the getting old spacesuits and the dangers they posed to astronauts.

“Whereas we, the panel, continued to be involved in regards to the long-term sustainability of the ISS spacesuits, given their age, the decision of the latest water intrusion concern is cheap,” mentioned Sandy Magnus, a panel member and former astronaut, throughout an Oct. 27 public assembly of the panel. “We’re very a lot wanting ahead to listening to extra in regards to the timing and the deployment of the brand new fits.”

NASA chosen Collins and Axiom Area in June for contracts referred to as Exploration Extravehicular Exercise Providers. The 2 firms would then compete for activity orders to develop spacesuits and supply them to NASA as a service, relatively than have the company personal them. That might enable the businesses to supply the fits to different clients, equivalent to firms creating business area stations.

NASA chosen Axiom Area in September for the primary activity order to develop fits for Artemis missions, an award valued at $228.5 million. Neither NASA nor Axiom have launched particulars in regards to the swimsuit design. NASA mentioned it acquired proposals from each firms however didn’t disclose why it chosen Axiom.

One member of the Collins staff means that they’re nonetheless within the operating to supply spacesuits for later lunar missions by adapting the design they’ll develop for the ISS. “Leveraging our many years of expertise engineering the stress clothes for the Apollo missions and the ISS, our newest spacesuits could have the flexibility to be outfitted for missions from the ISS to the lunar floor and past,” mentioned Corey Walker, chief government of ILC Dover.



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