Nasa announced the award of a $228.5 million task order to Axiom Space in a Wednesday evening press release.
“NASA is proud to partner with commercial industry on this historic mission that will kickstart the United States building a lasting presence on the surface of the Moon,” Lara Kearney, manager of NASA’s Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Mobility program, said in the press statement.
In June, Nasa selected Axiom and Collins Aerospace for contracts to develop spacesuits for both the space agency’s Artemis Moon program and the International Space Station. Both companies will compete on multiple “task orders,” providing suits for different lunar landings and other applications.
Artemis III, scheduled for 2025, will be the first mission of Nasa’s new Artemis program to land astronauts on the Moon, making the first time humans have stepped foot on the Moon since 1972, during the Apollo 17 mission. The corporate ancestor of Collins Aerospace, Hamilton Standard, built the spacesuits used in the Apollo program.
Unlike the Apollo era, however, Nasa will not purchase spacesuits from Axiom or Collins, but will instead lease them as part of “spacesuit services.”
Axiom Space is also developing a commercial addition to the International Space Station, and the company plans to one day fly its own commercial space station once the ISS retires at the end of the decade.