Italian luxury brand Prada has joined Axiom Space in the development of the next lunar spacesuits. The Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit (AxEMU) is going to be donned by the next moonwalkers, ideally in late 2025 when Artemis III is supposed to get to the Moon.
The NASA prototype for the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Units (xEMU) was a previous cause of delays, making it impossible for a possible landing in 2024. Back in 2021, NASA’s suits were going to be delivered by April 2025 at the earliest. The development was moving at a glacial pace. And as Miranda Priestly would sarcastically say, we were all thrilled by it.
Last year, the American space agency selected Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace to develop and provide astronauts with next-generation spacesuit and spacewalk systems. These would work both in orbit and on the surface of the Moon. Axiom Space showed a prototype earlier this year. And now they've got Prada involved.
"We are thrilled to partner with Prada on the Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit (AxEMU) spacesuit," Michael Suffredini, CEO of Axiom Space, said in a statement. "Prada's technical expertise with raw materials, manufacturing techniques, and innovative design concepts will bring advanced technologies instrumental in ensuring not only the comfort of astronauts on the lunar surface, but also the much-needed human factors considerations absent from legacy spacesuits."
Despite its renown being primarily for fashion, Prada also has experience with technical engineering problems, having built a sailboat racing syndicate in the late 1990s that continues to sail today. The brand is clearly looking for a new technical challenge.
“The constantly forward-thinking ethos of Prada for humanity has broadened to his desire of adventure and to brave new horizons: space,” Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group Marketing Director, said in a statement. “We are honored to be a part of this historic mission with Axiom Space. Our decades of experimentation, cutting-edge technology and design know-how – which started back in the ‘90s with Luna Rossa challenging for the America’s cup – will now be applied to the design of a spacesuit for the Artemis era. It is a true celebration of the power of human creativity and innovation to advance civilization.”
Artemis III might be delayed anyway due to SpaceX’s Starship failing to successfully fly on April 20, exploding in mid-air. And without Starship, NASA has no way to land people on the Moon. While rumors that it was caused by Elon Musk’s childish need to continue to make 4/20 jokes remain unsubstantiated, the whole launch has caused several problems and there is currently no scheduled next launch attempt.