Nasa showcases next-generation, more flexible, more communications-capable space suit that will equip Artemis astronauts
By A. J. Oliveira
Oct 16, 2019, 6:54 pm – Posted on Oct 16, 2019, 6:18 pm
They are eternalized in the popular imagination as the greatest badge of the astronaut figure. Their extravagant appearance helped a lot to crystallize them in people's minds, no doubt about that. Space suit is absolutely indispensable off Earth. Without it, a human being cannot survive the rigors of space. NASA just showed the world your new astronaut clothes – and they are amazing.
At an event on Tuesday at NASA headquarters in Washington, agency experts and administrator Jim Bridenstine presented the latest models that should dress the first woman and the next man to set foot on the moon. enable the Apollo successor Artemis program, which promises to bring humans back to the lunar surface in 2024. Astronauts will wear the new space suits.
There are two models: one orange, lighter and ideal for use inside the spacecraft at riskier mission times, such as leaving Earth and landing on the moon; and another white, with blue and red accents and adapted for repairs outside the space stations and especially for lunar ground activities. NASA did not start from scratch in this work: it has a solid background of 60 years in the area.
The bulk of the structure has been reused from past Apollo-era space suits, space shuttles and current ISS missions. But the agency spared no effort in innovations to make its astronauts more comfortable and safe while working and risking their skin thousands of miles from home. In the outer suit, the main gain was for mobility and flexibility of movement.
Old-fashioned videos from the 60s and 70s show how Apollo crewmen tried to walk the moon in their hard, heavy clothes. To improve on this, NASA has invested in advanced, more malleable materials, especially in the joints such as the knee, hips and shoulders, to make the arms looser. Even the feet of Artemis program members will hurt less. Your boots will be trail style, with a softer sole.
Previously, NASA's space suits were standardized following the logic of the normal clothing sizes we bought: P, M, or G. Because each body is unique, the solution to the problem came from the agency's “anthropometry and biomechanics” department. There they use sensors to create 3D models of each astronaut's limb and measurement – so you can produce the pieces entirely to size. Communication has also been improved.
The microphone inside the helmet was awkward and not always in the right position with his mouth. A much more sensitive and comprehensive pickup system has now been built into the equipment itself, making it easy to communicate with fellow side-by-side moon missions, inside the Gateway, the lunar space station NASA wants to build, or the control center here on Earth. . This costume was named xEMU.
Already the orange clothing, called OCSS, also has some peculiarities. Its color has nothing to do with the Dutch team, but it has a reason for being. It was designed to facilitate the identification of astronauts in the ocean in case of any unforeseen landing. Many of the improvements in materials are similar. The orange suit has a very strong focus on ensuring the long term survival of the wearer.
Its life support system allows crew members to survive drift in space for six days, even in the event of depressurization in the Orion capsule cabin. In addition, each costume comes with emergency items to survive an eventual ocean landing before the rescue team arrives. The kit includes several lights, reflectors, mirrors and even a switchblade. The first woman to set foot on the moon will be elegant – and more agile than ever.