NASA Awards Task Orders for Alternative Spacesuits to Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace

NASA has awarded task orders to two companies, Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace, to develop alternative versions of their spacesuits for the International Space Station (ISS) and Artemis missions. The task orders, valued at $5 million each, will allow the companies to begin design work on the new suits.

These task orders come after NASA awarded contracts to Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace in 2022 for the development of spacesuits under the Exploration Extravehicular Activity Services program. Instead of purchasing the suits outright, NASA opted to acquire spacesuit services, effectively renting them.

Under the new task orders, the companies will adapt their existing suit designs for different applications. Axiom Space will work on a version of its suit for the ISS, while Collins Aerospace will focus on a suit intended for moonwalks during the Artemis missions. This approach provides redundancy by having backup suits for both missions.

Lara Kearney, manager of the Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Mobility Program at the Johnson Space Center, highlighted the benefits of this competitive approach, stating that it enhances redundancy, expands future capabilities, and further invests in the space economy.

The task orders align with the companies’ plans and areas of expertise. Axiom Space, in addition to developing lunar spacesuits, is working on a commercial space station that may require spacewalks. Collins Aerospace, which previously won the ISS suit task order, has emphasized its work on lunar spacesuit designs.

Mark Greeley, EVA program manager at Axiom Space, expressed excitement about the opportunity to provide their orbital spacesuits to NASA. Axiom Space has already started work on a low Earth orbit version of its spacesuit. Dave Romero, director of EVA and human space mobility systems at Collins, stated that their next-generation spacesuit design is almost 90% compatible with lunar missions.

The full value of Axiom Space’s task order, if all options are exercised, is $142 million over four years. The exact value of Collins Aerospace’s task order has not been disclosed.

By investing in alternative versions of spacesuits from multiple companies, NASA ensures redundancy and flexibility for its missions to the ISS and the upcoming Artemis missions. These developments will contribute to the advancement of human space exploration and the expansion of possibilities in the space industry.