NASA is redesigning the spacesuit for the first time since the late 1970s. The new design will replace the older, bulkier suit with a sleeker version designed for lunar missions:
NASA has selected a company to design and outfit new spacesuits made specifically for lunar exploration. The Constellation Space Suit System contract, announced last week, is a critical step in sending a manned mission to the moon for the first time since Apollo 17 in 1972.
"We've now got all of our prime contracts in place," said Jeff Hanley, manager for the Constellation program at Houston's Johnson Space Center. He said he expects to have American astronauts "on [the] moon by end of the next decade."
The contract, awarded to Oceaneering International Inc of Houston, could be worth up to $745 million over the next 10 years. "We're ready to put them to work and get ready to put bootprints back on the moon," said Glenn Lutz, NASA project manager for Extravehicular Activity Systems.
PHYSORG has more details on the new spacesuit design:
The Constellation Program mission requires two spacesuit system configurations to meet the requirements of Orion missions to the space station and to the moon. Configuration One will support dynamic events such as launch and landing operations; contingency intravehicular activity (IVA) during critical mission events; off-nominal events such as loss of pressurization of the Orion crew compartment; and microgravity EVAs for contingency operations.
The next step is to design a spacesuit for missions to Mars. Check out what a Mars spacesuit might looks like.