NASA Updates Schedule for International Space Station Spacewalks

Recent NASA updates on next-gen spacesuits and lunar-roving robot

Last week NASA announced three major announcements. The James Webb Space Telescope now has important target data to showcase its findings. By June 12 Webbb’s full science capabilities will be revealed. Furthermore, NASA is partnering with Axion space and Collins Aerospace to work on a next-generation space suit. It will allow astronauts to work outside the ISS and explore the lunar surface on Artemis missions. Finally, the third major update is that NASA is testing Resource-Hunting Moon Rover at its Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

NASA Updates Schedule for International Space Station Spacewalks
Image credits- NASA

James Webb Telescope

It is said that the space-based observatory will be extended and complement the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope. The Webb has longer wavelength coverage with its 6.5-meter primary mirror. The sensitivity is vastly improved and enables the time to view the first galaxies that were formed in the early universe. The insiders to where stars and planets are forming today can peer inside.

Next-gen space suit

With the strategic alliances, the companies will be developing space suits for Mars and Moon missions. The two firms, Axion Space and Collins Aerospace will be pushing the advancement of moonwalking and low-earth orbit. In addition to the space suits, there will be spacewalk systems that make it easier for astronauts to work outside the International Space Station.

The advancement will be applicable in other missions like the lunar surface on Artemis missions and human missions on Mars. With the Artemis mission, they plan to send a first person of color and the first woman on the lunar surface.

Lunar Roving Robot

Teams at our Glenn Research Center in Cleveland recently conducted full-scale egress testing with the prototype of our VIPER Moon rover to verify that it will be able to exit the Astrobotic Griffin lunar lander safely and effectively after landing on the Moon. VIPER is targeted for delivery to the Moon’s the South Pole in late 2023 to map valuable resources for future Artemis missions.

The VIPER is planned to land on the Moon in 2023 on the lunar south pole for a 100-day mission. Its aim will be to map the Nobile crater and its unexplored regions and conclude if ice or any other potential resources exist in those areas. These resources, if found, could help sustain astronauts on future Artemis moon missions.

The testing was realistic in the sense that the engineers used the latest prototype lander and a robotic prototype of the Moon rover. The goal of the test was to ensure if VIPER is able to handle the roll-out onto the lunar surface. During the test, the mission team stripped down the rover’s heavier components to make it lighter. This was done to accurately simulate the conditions found on the lunar surface since the Moon has lesser gravity.