Axiom Space teams with high-fashion Prada to create new NASA spacesuit
On the cosmic fashion front, Axiom Space is teaming up with the Italian luxury apparel house Prada to create the high-tech spacesuits that NASA astronauts will wear when they return to the Moon in 2025 as part of the Artemis program.
The partnership of a space technology company and a haute couture salon may seem like some kind of really weird bureaucratic error, but there's sound logic in the decision. In the 1960s, the spacesuits worn by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on their historic 1969 Moonwalk were sewn by hand by seamstresses at the International Latex Corporation in Dover, Delaware – a subsidiary of the Playtex Corporation that was previously known for making brassieres.
Though they are items of everyday apparel, there's a lot of expertise and not a little engineering that goes into making a decent bra. They also require an intimate understanding of the raw materials and how to stitch them together to very fine tolerances.
Under the new agreement, engineers from Prada will work with Axiom Space to help design the Artemis Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) spacesuit that will be worn on the Artemis III mission that will return American astronauts to the Moon. The goal is to create a flexible, durable, and more comfortable suit that can not only withstand the hostile lunar environment, but also allow astronauts greater mobility as well as smarter digital support systems.
Whether the new suits will sport the narrower lapels that I prefer, has yet to be determined.
"We are thrilled to partner with Prada on the Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit (AxEMU) spacesuit," said Michael Suffredini, CEO of Axiom Space. "Prada's technical expertise with raw materials, manufacturing techniques, and innovative design concepts will bring advanced technologies instrumental in ensuring not only the comfort of astronauts on the lunar surface, but also the much-needed human factors considerations absent from legacy spacesuits."
Source: Axiom Space