NASA’s Artemis III astronauts are apparently going to look incredibly fashionable walking the lunar surface. On October 4, the commercial aerospace company Axiom Space announced a new collaboration with luxury fashion house Prada to design spacesuits for the upcoming moon mission currently scheduled for 2025.
According to Wednesday’s reveal, Prada’s engineers will assist Axiom’s systems team in finalizing its Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit (AxEMU) spacesuit while “developing solutions for materials and design features to protect against the unique challenge of space and the lunar environment.” Axiom CEO Michael Suffredini cited Prada’s expertise in manufacturing techniques, innovative design, and raw materials will ensure “not only the comfort of astronauts on the lunar surface, but also the much-needed human factors considerations absent from legacy spacesuits.”
NASA first unveiled an early prototype of the AxEMU spacesuit back in March, and drew particular attention to the fit accommodating “at least 90 percent of the US male and female population.” Given the Artemis mission has long promised to land the first woman on the lunar surface, such considerations are vital for astronauts’ safety and comfort.
In Wednesday’s announcement, Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada’s Group Marketing Director, cited the company’s decades of technological design and engineering experience. Although most well known for luxury fashion, Prada is also behind the cutting-edge Luna Rossa racing yacht fleet.
“We are honored to be a part of this historic mission with Axiom Space,” they said. “It is a true celebration of the power of human creativity and innovation to advance civilization.”
Despite Prada’s association with high fashion, the final AxEMU design will undoubtedly emphasize safety and function over runway appeal. After all, astronauts will need protection against both solar radiation and the near-vacuum of the lunar surface, as well as ample oxygen resources and space for HD cameras meant to transmit live feeds back to Earth. According to the BBC earlier this year, each suit will also incorporate both 3D-printing and laser cutters to ensure precise measurements tailored to each astronaut.
Although NASA’s first images of the AxEMU in March showcased a largely black-and-gray color palette with blue and orange accents, Axiom Space’s newest teases hint at an off-white cover layer more reminiscent of the classic Apollo moon mission suits. It might not be much now, but you can expect more detailed looks at the spacesuits in the coming months as the Artemis Program continues its journey back to the moon.