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Spacesuit makeover.

NASA's $3.5 billion

NASA uses 1970s-designed spacesuits on the International Space Station. Space shuttle suits. NASA repaired and maintained them for years due to budget issues.

"But basically, these are suits that are towards the end of their functional life," says Pablo De León, head of the University of North Dakota Human Spaceflight Laboratory.

NASA has struggled with suit deterioration and fitting its increasingly varied astronaut corps. The government now uses Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace, a Raytheon Technologies subsidiary.

 NASA is giving Collins, Axiom, and their business partners up to $3.5 billion through 2034 under the Exploration Extravehicular Activity Services Contract



Axiom won the first $228.5 million contract to design NASA's Artemis moon suits, while Collins won the second $97.2 million contract to design and build new International Space Station suits.

Collins and Axion can produce suits for non-NASA clients because NASA buys them as a service. “The beauty of this deal is that these two outfits have extremely similar functional needs. 

Lara Kearney, manager of NASA's Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Movement Program, adds, "We could ask any of those contractors to really start working on the other platform."

“We also have an on-ramp provision in the contract, which means if another firm comes into play ,



And they can compete, we can actually bring them on to the contract and enable them to compete on task orders.”

Kearney argues competition incentivizes contractors to meet cost and time, lowering government costs. 

 Collins Aerospace's new suit, designed with ILC Dover and Oceaneering, was shown to CNBC.

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