Spacewalking Services, Moonwalking Suits, and Options Increase at NASA
Under existing contracts, NASA has given task orders to Collins Aerospace and Axiom Space to improve moonwalking services for Artemis missions and spacewalking capabilities in low Earth orbit.
The most recent Investigation Extravehicular Movement Administrations task orders, each with a worth of $5 million, are expected to have Maxim Space start work on a spacesuit for use in low Earth circle, and Collins Aviation to start work on a spacesuit for use on the lunar surface. As part of its Moon to Mars exploration strategy, encouraging innovation in the suits and services offered by both companies helps NASA advance its missions for humanity’s benefit and obtain potential options in the event of development issues.
“These task orders position NASA for success should additional capabilities become necessary or advantageous to NASA’s missions as the agency paves the way for deep space exploration and commercialisation of low Earth orbit,” said Lara Kearney, chief of the Extravehicular Movement and Human Surface Versatility Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.“Using this competitive approach we will enhance redundancy, expand future capabilities, and further invest in the space economy.”
Each contract provider has offered a strategy for developing their spacesuit so that it can work in a different environment than the one specified in their initial task order award. Axiom Space was given an initial task order to develop a spacewalking system for a demonstration in partial gravity on the lunar surface during Artemis III. Now, the company will start early tests to see if that suit can be used outside of the International Space Station. In a similar vein, Collins Aerospace was given an initial task order to create a spacewalking system for a demonstration in microgravity outside of the space station. Now, the company will begin preliminary tests to see if the suit can be extended for use on the lunar surface.
Despite the different gravitational fields, natural space environments like radiation, and mission tasks like floating in microgravity or walking in partial gravity, the assessments from both vendors will provide NASA with insight and redundancy for the use of their suit systems.
The awardee will establish a starting point for the providers’ design modification work in their respective proposals for the task order’s initial content. NASA may use task order options to continue development after this initial step is finished. If NASA decides to pursue all of the follow-on task order options with a particular provider, culminating in a flight demonstration, the provider must perform a spacewalk or moonwalk at the desired location in addition to completing all necessary safety and performance verifications prior to flight.
The agreement empowers chosen suppliers to seek task orders for missions that will give a full set-up of capacities for NASA’s spacewalking needs during the time of execution through 2034. The primary errand orders granted were for the turn of events and administrations for the principal show outside the space station in low Earth circle and for the Artemis III lunar landing. The agreement was intended to develop with the necessities of the organisation and space industry and gives NASA a component for adding extra capacities and sellers as the business space administrations market advances.
The investments made by NASA in these additional capabilities will contribute to the growth of a robust commercial space industry. Every supplier on the Investigation Extravehicular Action Administrations agreement will possess the spacesuits it creates under the agreement and can seek after other business clients and investigate non-NASA business applications for the related advancements.
Extending the business space administrations market is a significant component of NASA’s drawn out objectives of investigation in low Earth circle and in profound space, including the Moon and Mars.