In 2020, humankind is going back to the moon (baby), and what’s more we’re going to be looking goooood. NASA has picked out a new organisation, Oceaneering International, and awarded it a contract to design and build a next-gen space suit, boringly entitled the Constellation Space Suit System, or CSSS.
The Houston-based organisation defeated a rival bid from the current spacesuit contractor Exploration Systems and Technology. The contract is worth something in the region of $745 million and includes design, testing, evaluation and production of two new types of spacesuits.
The new suits must be highly reliable, operationally efficient and simple to maintain and capable of allowing astronauts to engage in ‘contingency Extravehicular Activity’, which is basically dicking about outside of the spaceship and a not something to be undertaken on a whim.
The first is to be worn by astronauts aboard the new Orion spacecraft, debuting in 2015; the second and more important one will be used for strutting their stuff on the moon’s surface. Existing spacesuits are said to be unsuitable because they are designed for weightlessness and not the moon’s surface.
Glenn Lutz, project manager for the spacesuit system at the Johnson Space Center explained “They were built for a completely different set of problems to solve.” “Astronauts on the moon will need lighter-weight suits that can bend and be easily manoeuvred,” he added.
I suppose large peaked lapels and sequins would be out of the question too?