Sunday, April 21, 2024
HomeTechnologyNASA's Proposal To Rebuild Its Outdated Spacesuits Will Cost $3.5 Billion

NASA’s Proposal To Rebuild Its Outdated Spacesuits Will Cost $3.5 Billion

The spacesuits that NASA is currently employing on the International Space Station are getting older.

“NASA is currently using spacesuits on the International Space Station that were really created in the 1970s. The space shuttle program served as the inspiration for the creation of these suits. Owing to a lack of funds, NASA continued to work on, repair, and maintain them for all of these years. Yet, these are actually out-of-date suits, according to Pablo De León, the head of the Human Spaceflight Laboratory at the University of North Dakota.

Finding the right sizes for its increasingly diversified astronaut corps has proven to be a challenge for NASA, and some suit components have degraded as a result. For the construction and maintenance of its new generation of spacesuits, the agency is now relying on two private businesses: Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace, a division of Raytheon Technologies. Through 2034, NASA will give Collins and Axiom up to $3.5 billion through the Exploration Extravehicular Activity Services Contract, or xEVAS, together with a number of its business partners. Collins won the second $97.2 million contract to design and create a new generation of suits for the International Space Station after Axiom won the first $228.5 million contract to design the suits that would be used during NASA’s Artemis moon missions Station in space. Although Collins and Axion are providing NASA with its suits as a service, the vendors are free to produce additional suits for customers other than NASA.

“The functional specifications for these two outfits are really similar, which is the beauty of this contract. Hence, at any time, we may request that any of those contractors begin working on the other so-called platform, explains Lara Kearney, program manager for NASA’s extravehicular activity and human surface mobility. We also have what is known as a “on-ramp clause” in the contract, which allows us to add another company if they enter the picture and have the ability to compete and compete with us for task orders as well.

According to Kearney, the ongoing competition encourages contractors to complete projects on budget and on time, which ultimately helps keep costs to the government low. CNBC was given an inside peek at the new suit being developed by Collins Aerospace with partners ILC Dover and Oceaneering. By 2026, NASA intends to deploy this brand-new suit on the International Space Station. According to Kearney, the ongoing competition encourages contractors to complete projects on budget and on time, which ultimately helps keep costs to the government low. CNBC was given an inside peek at the new suit being developed by Collins Aerospace with partners ILC Dover and Oceaneering. By 2026, NASA intends to deploy this brand-new suit on the International Space Station.

Source (CNBC)

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