Italian luxury fashion house Prada is collaborating with Axiom Space to dress astronauts for NASA’s 2025 mission to the moon. Jenny Southan reports
In the first groundbreaking partnership between an Italian luxury fashion house and a commercial space company, Axiom Space – the architect of the world’s first commercial space station – is joining forces with Prada to design spacesuits for NASA’s Artemis III mission that are both stylish and utilitarian.
The first crewed lunar landing since Apollo 17 in December 1972, the Artemis mission is planned for 2025, and will also be the first to place a woman (Christina Kock) and a black person (Victor Glover) on the moon.
“We are thrilled to partner with Prada on the Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit (AxEMU) spacesuit,” says Michael Suffredini, CEO of Axiom Space.
“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.”Prada’s engineers will work alongside the Axiom Space systems team throughout the design process, developing solutions for materials and design features to protect against the unique challenge of space and the lunar environment.
“The constantly forward-thinking ethos of Prada for humanity has broadened to his desire of adventure and to brave new horizons: space,” says Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group Marketing Director. “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.”
The AxEMU spacesuit will provide astronauts with advanced capabilities for space exploration, while offering NASA commercially developed human systems needed to access, live and work on and around the moon.
Professor Jeffrey Hoffman, who flew five NASA missions and has carried out four spacewalks, told the BBC that people should not expect to see astronauts in “paisley spacesuits or any fancy patterns like that. Maintaining a good thermal environment is really the critical thing”. “A spacesuit is really like a miniature spacecraft. It has to provide pressure, oxygen, keep you at a reasonable temperature,” he added.
Evolving NASA’s Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) spacesuit design, the Axiom Space spacesuits are created to provide increased flexibility, greater protection to withstand the harsh environment, and specialised tools for exploration and scientific opportunities. Using innovative technologies and design, these spacesuits will enable greater exploration of the lunar surface than ever before.
The development of these next-generation spacesuits is a significant milestone in furthering space exploration, and enabling a deeper understanding of the Moon, the solar system, and beyond.
Axiom Space is building a “thriving home in space that benefits every human, everywhere”. The leading provider of human spaceflight services and developer of human-rated space infrastructure, Axiom Space operates end-to-end missions to the International Space Station today, while developing its successor, Axiom Station – the world’s first commercial space station in low-Earth orbit, which will sustain human growth off the planet.