Published: Sat, October 19, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

NASA shows off new spacesuit and Orion Crew Survival System suit

NASA shows off new spacesuit and Orion Crew Survival System suit

NASA on Tuesday showed off two new spacesuits tailored for future moonwalking astronauts, signalling development of a crucial component to the space agency's accelerated drive to return to the moon by 2024.

The SLS is NASA's deep space exploration rocket that aims to launch a 27-metric ton, Orion crew vehicle - plus cargo - from Earth to the moon and eventually to Mars.

Besides its improved sizing and flexibility, the xEMU suit is also better created to handle the harshness of the lunar landscape.

Astronaut Christina Koch had planned to spacewalk with Anne McClain but because McClain preferred a medium suit and there was only one available, NASA swapped Koch for astronaut Nick Hague on the walk.

"To date, NASA has not provided the committee with a full cost estimate despite repeated requests", said Serrano.

"This is the first suit we've designed in about 40 years", news agency Reuters quoted Chris Hansen, manager at NASA's spacesuit design office as saying.

The new suit also has improved joint bearings that will let astronauts bend and walk more normally on the lunar surface.

In March, the Trump administration directed NASA to land humans on the moon - preferably at the unexplored southern lunar pole, by 2024, with the eventual goal of landing on Mars.

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Astronauts onboard the Artemis moon mission will have two suits: One for moonwalks and one for use inside the shuttle or in space.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left, speaks with Dustin Gohmert, Orion Crew Survival Systems Project Manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center, wearing the Orion Crew Survival System suit, about the suit, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019 at NASA Headquarters in Washington. It allows for much greater mobility as well as dexterity, to allow astronauts to pick up rocks easily.

Orion is the replacement for the space shuttle, but, unlike that system, it's created to carry astronauts to the Moon and other targets in deep space. This includes being able to squat down and pick up rocks as well as easier movement.

Nevertheless, there is a race to get U.S. boots on the moon's surface to exploit lunar riches that experts believe include water, gold, platinum and valuable rare earth elements.

These particular suits are created to be worn during take-off and landing, and for protection within the spacecraft and the ISS.

The orange spacesuit will be used for launch and reentry aboard the NASA Orion spacecraft.

The other spacesuit unveiled was the Orion Crew Survival Suit.

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