NASA has unveiled a new spacesuit designed for its Artemis III mission to the lunar south pole in 2025. The suit was developed in collaboration with Axiom Space and features a black outer cover with navy and orange accents, and a deep-V overlay at the chest. The suit is designed to fit all sizes of bodies and is gender non-binary.
Nicholas de Monchaux, head of architecture at MIT and author of “Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo,” described the suit as “really less a piece of clothing than a very small building or a very small spacecraft.” The redesign was not just about cost or technical specifications, but rather, as Monchaux said, “the costume for the drama we project into space” and the way we “put ourselves into the heavens.” The spacesuit is a cultural icon that has long been associated with the heroic quest for new frontiers and, more recently, as a symbol of escape and the fragility of human life.
The spacesuit has always occupied a unique place in our collective imagination, representing the human connection to the unknown and providing a familiar point of reference in an otherwise foreign world of technology and science. As Debra Benita Shaw, an associate professor in cultural theory at the University of East London, explains, “sometimes technology feeds our imagination, but oftentimes, our imagination actually shapes our technology.”
The Artemis III spacesuit redesign is not only significant for the astronauts who will wear it but also for the popular imagination and public support for space missions. As Esther Marquis, the costume designer for the Apple TV+ series “For All Mankind,” said, “If you get the spacesuit right, everything else will fall into place.” Axiom Space followed in the footsteps of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which turned to Jose Fernandez, a costume designer who worked on “Batman v Superman” and “The Fantastic Four,” for the design of their spacesuits.