Space-suit update prototype shows enhanced sensors, electronics, avionics

WASHINGTON. Collins Aerospace Systems and materials-engineering firm ILC Dover recently unveiled its Next-Generation Space Suit system prototype designed for future missions to the moon, to orbital stations, and destinations beyond.

The system -- aimed at use by both NASA and commercial customers -- goes beyond the existing Collins Aerospace-designed suit, which is used by astronauts today on the International Space Station. According to the company, the Next Generation Space Suit system features a new carbon-dioxide removal technology that is perpetually regenerated while in use. This breakthrough technology enables extended-duration missions, reduces dependency on resupply, and significantly reduces crew maintenance time.

The suit will also include more efficient electronics and motors that reduce size and weight and enable additional avionics and data capabilities into the suit; pathways to integrate parallel development of cutting-edge information technology and display systems that will provide astronauts with a digitally connected experience, including advanced displays and voice-activated controls, real-time access to data, and HD video recording and communication capabilities; an open architecture that will enable easy upgrades to the suit to keep it state-of-the-art and aligned with mission objectives; and improved mobility joints and an ambulatory lower torso that will enable astronauts to traverse hazardous terrain, perform complex assembly tasks, and closely examine, handle, and collect geological samples.