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Future NASA moonwalkers to sport sleeker spacesuits

Future NASA moonwalkers to sport sleeker spacesuits by MARCIA DUNN THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | March 18, 2023 at 4:36 a.m.
Axiom Space chief engineer Jim Stein demonstrates a prototype spacesuit Wednesday in Houston. (AP/David J. Phillip)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Moonwalking astronauts will have sleeker, more flexible spacesuits that come in different sizes when they step onto the lunar surface later this decade.

Exactly what that looks like remained under wraps. The company designing the next-generation spacesuits, Axiom Space, said Wednesday that it plans to have new versions for training purposes for NASA later this summer.

The moonsuits will be white like they were during NASA's Apollo program more than a half-century ago, according to the company. That's so they can reflect heat and keep future moonwalkers cool.

The suits will provide greater flexibility and more protection from the moon's harsh environment, and will come in a wider range of sizes, according to the Houston-based company.

NASA awarded Axiom Space a $228.5 million contract to provide the outfits for the first moon landing in more than 50 years. The space agency is targeting late 2025 at the earliest to land two astronauts on the moon's south pole.

At Wednesday's event in Houston, an Axiom employee modeled a dark spacesuit, doing squats and twisting at the waist to demonstrate its flexibility. The company said the final version will be different, including the color.

"I didn't want anybody to get that mixed up," said Axiom's Russell Ralston.

  photo  Axiom Space chief engineer Jim Stein walks Wednesday in a prototype spacesuit in Houston. (AP/David J. Phillip)
  photo  Axiom Space chief engineer Jim Stein (left) greets children Wednesday during a demonstration in Houston. (AP/David J. Phillip)

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