Bill Would Direct NASA to Design Next-Generation Spacesuits

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If passed, the work would unfold in Texas.

Legislation put forth in both Congressional chambers would direct the development of next-generation space suits and associated extravehicular activity technologies at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

The Advancing Human Spaceflight Act, recently introduced by Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, includes multiple provisions that promote human-centered exploration beyond planet Earth.

Extravehicular activity, or EVA, refers to those performed by space-suited astronauts outside their craft that’s in orbit. Specifically, the bill’s text presses the administration to use the International Space Station by 2025 “to test future space suits and associated EVA technologies to reduce risk and improve safety.” Those suits would need to “accommodate a wide range of sizes of astronauts so as to meet the needs of the diverse NASA astronaut corps.” Developed with support from Johnson Space Center, the space agency could enter into multiple agreements with industry-proven suppliers of tools to make spacesuits.

Among other proposed mandates concerning space debris, federally-led research and more, the bill also extends the United States’ commitment to the ISS through 2030—and ensures that NASA is prepared for a transition to a successor program after that year. The legislation additionally pushes for a “stepping stone approach” to humans’ space exploration, which would involve forming an outpost station in orbit around the Moon that could support future missions to the Moon and Mars. 

“The only way to continue learning about the universe around us is to aim high and dream big,” Cornyn said. “I’m grateful for the continued work of and input from Houston’s space community as we drafted this bill, which sets the stage for a new era of space exploration and to reassert American leadership in space discovery.”

This legislation was endorsed by the National Security Innovation Council and Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership. 

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