Max Q: Customize Yourself – Vidak For Congress

Hello and welcome back to Max Q. In this issue:

  • New topics for astronauts
  • Ursa Major’s latest addition to the rocket engine lineup
  • News from Blue Origin and more

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Say goodbye to stuffy, hulking, 40-year-old spacesuits. Following a larger trend to turn to private industry for space services, NASA announced last Wednesday that it has contracted Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace to provide next-gen spacesuits and spacewalking systems for astronauts working outside the International Space Station. The total value of the contracts amounts to 3.5 billion dollars.

Notably, the two companies will own the suits and “are encouraged to explore other non-NASA commercial uses for data and technologies they are co-developing with NASA,” the agency said in a statement. This is consistent with NASA positioning itself as one of many customers in a new, fast-growing market for space products and capabilities.

If all goes according to plan, the new suits will be used by astronauts as part of the Artemis program, an ambitious series of missions planned by the agency to return humans to the moon for the first time since the Apollo era. NASA has tried — and failed — for years to update its astronaut spacesuits and spacewalking suits, so it’s not entirely unexpected to go into private industry.

“History will be made with these suits,” said Vanessa Wyche, NASA’s director of the Johnson Space Center, during a media briefing, referring to the agency’s intention to send the first person of color and the first woman to the moon in the under the Artemis programme.

An artistic rendering of astronauts dressed in next-gen suits. Image Credits: NASA (Opens in a new window)

More news from TC and beyond

  • astras LV0010 rocket has arrived at Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral ahead of the first of three missions the company will launch on behalf of customer NASA later this month.
  • Blue origin launched the fifth manned mission of the New Shepard rocket on Wednesday, sending a crew of six space tourists to suborbital space. The mission had previously been delayed due to problems with one of the missile’s backup systems.
  • Elon Musk told SpaceX and Tesla employees that they must spend a minimum of 40 hours a week in the office to continue their employment with its respective companies. Goodbye, WFH!
  • The Federal Aviation Administration has the environmental rating of SpaceXs starbase again, now announcing that the final Programmatic Environmental Assessment will be released on June 13.
  • washroom, a Japanese startup developing robots for the moon, released video shows engineers pairing the two main sub-assemblies of the company’s lunar lander, called Hakuto-R.
  • The James Webb Space TelescopeNASA’s huge and very beautiful orbital telescope, works smoothly – and the agency will release the first full color images out of scope on July 12. Make a note in your calendar.
  • NASA awarded five additional crewed astronaut flights to SpaceX, yet another extension of the company’s Commercial Crew Transportation Capabilities (CCtCap) contract with the agency. SpaceX is currently the sole provider of transportation services for astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
  • Sony enters the space industry with the launch of Sony Space Communications, a company that will develop small communications equipment for satellites.
  • starlink can now claim to be license on all seven continentswith news that Nigeria and Mozambique have approved the service.
  • the big Bear develops a new rocket engine for medium and heavy launchers, which it calls Arroway. The £200,000 propulsion engine is scheduled for delivery in 2025.

Photo of the week

Max Q: Customize Yourself – Vidak For Congress 1

My face when I learned that the FAA was STILL delaying the environmental assessment of Starbase. Image Credits: Know your meme/Nintendo (Opens in a new window)

REAL photo of the week

Max Q: Customize Yourself – Vidak For Congress 2

NASA’s Hubble Telescope caught a glimpse of the star cluster Liller 1, shown here in red. It’s 30,000 light-years from Earth, what the agency said “is next of kin in cosmic terms.” sip. Image Credits: NASA (Opens in a new window)

Max Q is brought to you by me, Aria Alamalhodaei. If you enjoy reading Max Q, consider forwarding it to a friend.

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