Introducing the Spacesuit of the Future

Jun 13, 2008
NASA Awards Contract for Constellation Spacesuit for the Moon
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. Image Credit: NASA.

NASA has awarded a contract to Oceaneering International Inc. of Houston, for the design, development and production of a new spacesuit system. The spacesuit will protect astronauts during Constellation Program voyages to the International Space Station and, by 2020, the surface of the moon.

The subcontractors to Oceaneering are Air-Lock Inc. of Milford, Conn., David Clark Co. of Worcester, Mass., Cimarron Software Services Inc. of Houston, Harris Corporation of Palm Bay, Fla., Honeywell International Inc. of Glendale, Ariz., Paragon Space Development Corp. of Tucson, Ariz., and United Space Alliance of Houston.

"The award of the spacesuit contract completes the spaceflight hardware requirements for the Constellation Program's first human flight in 2015," said Jeff Hanley, Constellation program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Contracts for the Orion crew capsule and the Ares I rocket were awarded during the past two years.

The cost-plus-award-fee spacesuit contract includes a basic performance period from June 2008 to September 2014 that has a value of $183.8 million. During the performance period, Oceaneering and its subcontractors will conduct design, development, test, and evaluation work culminating in the manufacture, assembly, and first flight of the suit components needed for astronauts aboard the Orion crew exploration vehicle. The basic contract also includes initial work on the suit design needed for the lunar surface.

"I am excited about the new partnership between NASA and Oceaneering," said Glenn Lutz, project manager for the spacesuit system at Johnson. "Now it is time for our spacesuit team to begin the journey together that ultimately will put new sets of boot prints on the moon."

Suits and support systems will be needed for as many as four astronauts on moon voyages and as many as six space station travelers. For short trips to the moon, the suit design will support a week's worth of moon walks. The system also must be designed to support a significant number of moon walks during potential six-month lunar outpost expeditions. In addition, the spacesuit and support systems will provide contingency spacewalk capability and protection against the launch and landing environment, such as spacecraft cabin leaks.

Two contract options may be awarded in the future as part of this contract. Option 1 covers completion of design, development, test and evaluation for the moon surface suit components. Option 1 would begin in October 2010 and run through September 2018, under a cost-plus-award fee structure with a total value of $302.1 million.

Option 2 provides for the Orion suit production, processing and sustaining engineering under a cost-plus-award fee or a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract structure with a maximum value of $260 million depending on hardware requirements. Option 2 would begin at the end of the basic performance period in October 2014, and would continue through September 2018.

Source: NASA

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User comments : 9

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peeve
5 / 5 (2) Jun 13, 2008
What's with the black area on the crotch and how are they going to reach that tiny pocket on the right shoulder?
DGBEACH
5 / 5 (2) Jun 13, 2008
What's with the black area on the crotch

maybe its in case the toilets break down again -:)
Mercury_01
4.7 / 5 (3) Jun 13, 2008
Oh, that's the artificial bush. It keeps the astronaut warm and protects him from harmful rays. The pocket contains his space- rubbers. He wont need to acess them until he removes his suit.
bhiestand
5 / 5 (3) Jun 14, 2008
Mercury_01 almost got it right. The black area on the crotch is like a sliding garage door, it just slides up to allow easier access. The pocket on his shoulder does indeed contain condoms, but you do not need to remove the suit to access them.

I know we tend to forget these things here on physorg, but the basic idea is that, if you're an astronaut in space and you need a condom, there should be another astronaut around to help you.
Rohitasch
5 / 5 (2) Jun 17, 2008
The crotch thing is a strapless space thong. I know the team that are designing the suit. Some of them are my relatives. They told me everything. The suit even has nipples which are not visible in this image. Its the truth.
Mercury_01
4 / 5 (1) Jun 17, 2008
I heard that the suit nipples are the bionic interface between the astronauts nipples and the rest of the suit. I also heard that this technology was borrowed from extraterrestrials, and allows the astronaut to sense the outside temperature, communicate nipple to nipple, and measure the cosmic background radiation through quantum nipple perbutation. Is that true?
MikeCarlin
not rated yet Jun 17, 2008
NASA is reporting that the suits have a radiation-resistant "asshole" built into the back as well. Just in case one astronaut wants to leave a feces sample in one of the craters, or smear it all over his EVA companion, you know, just for fun.
Mercury_01
not rated yet Jun 17, 2008
I heard on the moon you dont have to push.
Rohitasch
5 / 5 (1) Jun 18, 2008
As a matter of fact, the nipple interface design info is indeed true. The designers, some of who are my relatives, told me that. There are also detectors on the suit nipples which constantly measure the Cassimir force between the nipples and the nipples on the suit. Such experiments are necessary for making urgent capacitor replacements using nipples better understood. Since on the moon you only need to push with 1/6th the force during a space potty manoeuvre, astronauts sometimes forget and use regular earth type force. This leads to capacitor blow-outs.