Prototype of the New NASA Space Suits

Image (Credit): New Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit spacesuit. (NASA)

It is called the Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or AxEMU, but you can call it a lunar spacesuit. The newly designed spacesuit was on display today at the Space Center Houston’s Moon 2 Mars Festival. While the final suit will be in white, you get the idea with the prototype on display.

Axiom Space, the maker of the spacesuit, noted:

Since a spacesuit worn on the Moon must be white to reflect heat and protect astronauts from extreme high temperatures, a cover layer is currently being used for display purposes only to conceal the suit’s proprietary design. Axiom Space collaborated with costume designer Esther Marquis from the Apple TV+ series, “For All Mankind” to create this custom cover layer using the Axiom Space logo and brand colors.

It makes it sound like something being designed for Hollywood fans rather than a NASA-procurement contract. Is Axiom Space competing with Elon Musk on his design (see below)? Or maybe the company is trying to match the spacesuits from Lost in Space (also below)?

Whatever the case, NASA hopes to use these new suits for the lunar exploration under Artemis III. Moreover, NASA states these suits can fit “…at least 90 percent of the US male and female population.” I think they mean 90 percent of the population qualifying for such a mission. We cannot even fit the average American into train seats made for Europeans, so either the qualifying population is limited or these suits have a LOT of stretch-room.

Image (Credit): SpaceX astronaut spacesuits for the Dragon capsule. (SpaceX)
Image (Credit): Spacesuits on Lost in Space. (Netflix)

Space Quote: NASA’s Proposed Budget for FY 2024

“President Biden’s budget will help us explore new cosmic shores, continue to make strides in traveling to and working in space and on the Moon, increase the speed and safety of air travel with cutting-edge technologies, and help protect our planet and improve lives here on Earth.”

Statement by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson regarding the release of the The President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2024. Under this budget, NASA proposes to:

  • Build on the successful Artemis I mission and pave the way for a long-term presence at the Moon. 
  • Further new scientific discovery in our solar system and beyond. 
  • Support a future in low-Earth orbit.
  • Advance U.S. leadership in technology innovation in aviation and space. 
  • Engage diverse learners in NASA’s mission to create our nation’s next generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers – the Artemis Generation. 

Television: Hello Tomorrow! Arrives This Week

Credit: Apple TV+

Would you buy a lunar timeshare from Billy Crudup? Be careful how you answer. Or would you simply watch a show about Billy Crudup trying to sell lunar timeshares? I think you can answer yes to that with little risk of disappointment.

While Elon Musk is trying to sell us on Mars, I like how the focus of Hello Tomorrow! is closer to home. It is Artemis III meets Century21. The 10-episode series starts this Friday (February 17). Check out this trailer for more on what awaits you.

The Earth shown in the new series is already pretty different than what we have today with its floating cars and jet packs, so why not shoot for the Moon? For some reason, it appears it will not be that easy, but that is part of the drama. At least they will have their floating cars whatever else happens. We are still figuring out electric cars.

I was disappointed with SyFy’s The Ark, which seems to be a comedy masquerading as a tragedy wrapped in a farce. I am hoping Hello Tomorrow! is a somewhat more straightforward – just pure fun.

The House Committee Dodged a Killer Asteroid

Image (Credit): U.S. Capitol Building. (U.S. Capitol Police)

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, which oversees NASA’s programs, may have a chance to get some things done this year. Earlier in the week, New York Congressman George Santos stepped down from the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology as well as the House Committee on Small Business. With all of the problems following this man, his presence on either committee would have been a pure distraction.

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has a broad jurisdiction beyond just NASA:

The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has jurisdiction over all energy research, development, and demonstration, and projects thereof and all federally owned or operated non-military energy laboratories; astronautical research and development, including resources, personnel, equipment, and facilities; civil aviation research and development; environmental research and development; marine research; commercial application of energy technology; National Institute of Standards and Technology, standardization of weights and measures and the metric system; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; National Weather Service; outer space, including exploration and control thereof; science scholarships; scientific research, development, and demonstration, and projects therefor. The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology shall review and study, on a continuing basis, laws, programs, and Government activities relating to non-military research and development.

Given the Artemis program as well as the other NASA endeavors currently underway, the Committee should be focusing as much time as possible on space missions rather than bogus resumes and lies to the public.

NASA-related hearings from last year include:

We need a serious Congress if we are going to conduct serious science and space exploration. Let’s hope Washington DC can keep its focus on the real stars (rather than the political black holes that can suck in all light and common sense).

Update on Artemis III

Image (Credit): Arstist’s rendering of SpaceX Starship human landing system design. (SpaceX)

The other week, NASA revealed an update on the Artemis III mission to the Moon in 2025. Now that Artemis I was a success and Artemis II is being readied, Artemis III is becoming much clearer on the horizon. The plan focuses on the first crew to land on the surface, noting that future missions will be involved in building the Gateway lunar space station.

While the Space Launch System (SLS) will get the crew into orbit on Orion, SpaceX has been chosen to bring this first crew to the moon. However, SpaceX will first need to test this human landing system on the Moon without a crew.

The landing site is likely to be on the Moon’s South Pole involving two astronauts who will take the SpaceX human landing system to the surface. They will conduct their research work in Axiom space suits.

It all may have become routine back in the 1970s, but NASA is demoing everything all over again to ensure new systems and new parties are up to par for this return to the Moon. The world is watching again, particularly China. We need to be perfect in this overdue first step back into human space travel.

You can view all of the parts of the mission in the graphic below.

Image (Credit): Artemis III mission map. (NASA)