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NASA's Artemis program taps Axiom Space for moonwalk spacesuits

·2 min read

NASA is awarding Axiom Space a $228.5 million contract to create next-generation spacesuits for the agency's Artemis program.

The company will be responsible for the design, development, qualification, certification and production of Exploration Extravehicular Activity Services (xEVAS) spacesuits and support equipment that will be used during NASA's Artemis III mission, which aims to land the first woman and person of color on the moon by 2025 or 2026.

NASA's Artemis program will pave the way for a long-term, sustainable lunar presence and serve as a stepping stone for future astronaut missions to Mars. NASA astronauts last walked on the lunar surface in 1972.

Axiom's indefinite deliver indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract extends over a 10-year ordering period and allows for two additional years for completion of services.

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Building off NASA’s Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit spacesuit design, Axiom's xEVAS spacesuits will provide increased flexibility and specialized tools to accomplish exploration needs and expand scientific opportunities in space. The xEVAS spacesuit design will include life support, pressure garments and avionics.

"Our modernized, evolvable spacesuits will enable rapid upgrades to implement better, safer technologies over time, ensuring our astronauts are always equipped with high performing, robust equipment," Axiom Space CEO Michael Suffredini said in a statement. "We look forward to providing our space pioneers with advanced tools needed to further humanity’s permanent expansion off the planet."

The company previously partnered with NASA in April to send the first entirely private crew to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft. Its long-term ambitions include building a commercial space station.

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Authorization to perform work under NASA's xEVAS contract occurs through the issuance of task orders not to exceed $3.1 billion with a ceiling of $3.5 billion for all services. Under the task orders, eligible industry partners will provide a full suite of capabilities for the agency's spacewalking and moonwalking needs through 2034.

Axiom's partners on the xEVAS spacesuits will include KBR, Air-Lock, Arrow Science and Technology, David Clark Company, Paragon Space Development Corporation, Sophic Synergistics and A-P-T Research.

Future task orders under the contract will consist of recurring lunar landings, the development of spacesuits for use in low-Earth orbit outside the International Space Station, and special studies. The agency is currently evaluating task order options for space station spacesuits.