NASA announced the tapping of Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace to provide next-generation spacesuits and spacewalk systems for work on the International Space Station (ISS) and for the upcoming Artemis missions.
“With these awards, NASA and our partners will develop advanced, reliable spacesuits that allow humans to explore the cosmos unlike ever before,” said Vanessa Wyche, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in a statement. “By partnering with industry, we are efficiently advancing the necessary technology to keep Americans on a path of successful discovery on the International Space Station and as we set our sights on exploring the lunar surface.”
The selection was made as part of NASA’s Exploration Extravehicular Activity Services (xEVAS) contract solicitation. The contract, which includes indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity, has an estimated combined value of $3.5 billion for all task order awards.
NASA will provide Axiom and Collins with the technical and safety standards for the spacesuits. The two companies will be responsible for design, development, certification, and production of the spacesuits and additional equipment.
“Our commercial partnerships will help realize our human exploration goals,” said Mark Kirasich, deputy associate administrator of NASA’s Artemis Campaign Development Division. “We look forward to using these services for NASA’s continued presence in low-Earth orbit and our upcoming achievement of returning American astronauts to the Moon’s surface. We are confident our collaboration with industry and leveraging NASA’s expertise gained through over 60 years of space exploration will enable us to achieve these goals together.”
According to NASA, the contract will allow the agency to add additional vendors as the “commercial space services market evolves.” Collins Aerospace previously designed the first spacesuits used during the Apollo moon landings, as well as the suits currently used on the ISS.
“Collins was there when the first man walked on the moon, and we’ll be there when humankind goes back,” said Phil Jasper, president of Mission Systems for Collins Aerospace.