Axiom Space, the Houston-based aerospace company, is poised to redefine lunar fashion by teaming up with the iconic Italian luxury fashion house, Prada, to design Extravehicular Activity Services (xEVAS) spacesuits for NASA’s Artemis III mission in 2025. This mission is set to make history on multiple fronts.
It marks humanity’s long-awaited return to the Moon’s surface, the first crewed lunar landing since Apollo 17 in 1972, and notably, it will also be the first mission to include both a woman and a person of color among its astronauts.
Prada’s involvement in spacesuit design may conjure images of high-fashion lunar attire, but the collaboration is primarily focused on enhancing the technical aspects of the suits. Prada’s engineers will work closely with Axiom Space’s team throughout the design process to develop innovative solutions for materials and design features that can withstand the unique challenges posed by space and the lunar environment.
“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,” said Michael Suffredini, CEO of Axiom Space, in a statement.
The choice of Prada as a partner for the Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit (AxEMU) spacesuit is not arbitrary. Prada brings a wealth of expertise in working with advanced materials and manufacturing techniques, making them well-suited to contribute to the development of the next-generation spacesuit. While they are known for their fashion prowess, Prada’s experience extends beyond the runway, including collaborations with the Luna Rossa Prada Americas Cup sailing team, which has honed their proficiency in cutting-edge technologies.
The redesign of the spacesuit for the Artemis III mission is a significant milestone in spacesuit development. Weighing 55 kilograms (121 pounds), the updated spacesuit is designed to provide a better fit for female astronauts, increased flexibility, and specialized tools tailored for exploration and scientific activities on the lunar surface. This marks the first comprehensive redesign of the spacesuit since 1981, signifying a substantial leap in technology and functionality.
“The constantly forward-thinking ethos of Prada for humanity has broadened to his desire of adventure and to brave new horizons: space,” said Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada group marketing director, in a statement. “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.”
As we eagerly await the 2025 Artemis III mission, it’s worth noting that there is also an upcoming mission, Artemis II, set to send astronauts into lunar orbit. NASA has ambitious plans for lunar colonization, aiming to establish 3D-printed houses on the Moon’s surface, accommodating both astronauts and civilians, by 2040.