- Parabolic Arc
- May 26, 2023
FInal Frontier Design Awarded Multiple NASA Lunar xEMU Space Suit Development Contracts
BROOKLYN, New York, June 16, 2020 (FFD PR) — Final Frontier Design (FFD) is pleased to announce the award of multiple contracts for components of NASA’s next generation xEMU Lunar space suit.
The xEMU Lunar space suit will be used in the Artemis mission, the first US planetary space mission since Apollo. The development awards include the Lunar xEMU space suit boot, hip, and waist joints, and will culminate with hardware deliveries to NASA in 2020.
Lower body motion for walking and thermal insulation in the extremely cold regions of the Lunar south pole will be critical performance elements in the Lunar xEMU space suit.
The boots in particular will be subject to contact with extraordinarily cold, permanently shaded Lunar regolith in the south pole region. The boots are tasked with providing flexibility and ankle motion for walking, traction, insulation, and pressure containment.
FFD is partnering with Vibram Corporation to develop a specialized boot outsole designed specifically for this cryogenic environment. This work is a direct outgrowth of our 2019 NASA SBIR award and delivery to Houston of a Lunar boot prototype.
In addition to Lunar boots, FFD is working awards for the hip and waist joint pressure garment soft goods. These are also critical mobility elements for planetary Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA).
FFD’s President, Ted Southern, noted, “FFD is proud to be working with NASA to return U.S. boots to the moon. The challenge and ambition of the mission is inspiring.”
15 responses to “FInal Frontier Design Awarded Multiple NASA Lunar xEMU Space Suit Development Contracts”
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cool to see.
Hopefully, there will be 2 companies that end up developing suits.
The xEMU suit look like the Mondoshawan aliens from the Fifth Element movie.
Plans of placing human beings anywhere near that environment (the permanent shadowed craters upon the Lunar surface), IMO, is just plain madness. MMW, you can down-vote me all you like, if we try, people will die. 🙁
I disagree with you. Down-votes are for the stupid and offensive comments though IMO.
I think people will eventually go wherever they have reason and some ability to go. People will die building the vehicles, driving to the launch sites, and eating too much sugar. Risk management is a universal.need.
Thanks for your reply, redneck. I’m talking about trying to operate in such an extreme environment. There is a reason, for arguments sake, that only a handful of humans have “touched down” upon the floor of The Mariana Trench. All materials made to work in such an extreme environment are subject to cascading micro-fracture failure. The same will be true for the near Absolute Zero temperatures of the permanent shadowed craters at the Lunar Poles. Spot heat, spot freeze, work material, spot heat, spot freeze, work material, hour in, hour out, day in, day out, etc. … crack! Let’s see how the testing goes. Stay safe, Paul.
Testing is key. Near absolute zero in vacuum is a considerably different animal than in an atmosphere. No conduction and convection except in surface contact. Enough heat to counteract radiation losses is fairly simple. To agree with what you said again though, testing is the key to success.
Thanks again for the reply, redneck. Yes, we shall see how the materials’ lattice holds up. Of course, down the track, we could come up with some really neat hardware that could operate within that environment, say, by taking advantage of the property that, at those temperatures, everything becomes superconductive, hence, using magnetic containment techniques, etc.. Keep safe, Paul.
The temperatures in question are nowhere near low enough for conventional superconductors to go critical. Some of the so-called “high-temperature superconductors” would probably work, but I don’t see how magnetic fields would be of much help in a spacesuit.
Richard, haven’t you seen those really cool experiments of suspending materials in magnetic fields when they are chilled by liquid Nitrogen? The application of MagLev technologies. And, yes, you are right, I wasn’t referring to spacesuits, I was referring to the harvesters that eventually will be built that will be able to operate for lengthy periods of time within those environments. Stay safe, Paul.
Any sort of maglev involves a surface and an object of opposite magnetic polarities. The lunar surface is not magnetized and is not magnetizable. So no maglev no matter what you do with the spacesuit.
Richard, not so much as levitating above the Lunar surface, more like acting as a non physical contact between material surfaces moving independently of each other at such extremely low temperatures. Keep safe, Paul.
The temperatures in permanently shadowed craters near the lunar poles are not all that close to absolute zero. Estimates seem to cover a range from 25 degrees K. to over 100 degrees K. 25 degrees K. is above the boiling point of liquid hydrogen, a substance we have been handling for decades on a routine basis. Elastomers and other materials that can withstand such low temperatures exist.
True, Richard, but, unless I’m mistaken, they are not “worked”, i.e. we can have static material containment but not continuous, independent, segments in motion relative to each other. IMO, that’s where the likelihood of material failure really lies. Again, stay safe, Paul.
What you say may be true of many materials including relatively stiff elastomers. but very flexible elastomers don’t behave like conventional solids even at cryogenic temperatures as they are not crystalline. I’m eager to see what Final Frontier and Vibram come up with.
As am I.