Through the groundbreaking tie-up, Prada will develop Nasa lunar spacesuits for the Artemis III mission, planned for 2025.
The suits will be used for the first crewed lunar landing since the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972. It will also be the first to place a woman on the Moon.
“We are thrilled to partner with Prada on the Axiom Extravehicular Mobility Unit (AxEmu) spacesuit,” said Michael Suffredini, chief executive of Axiom Space.
“Prada’s technical expertise with raw materials, manufacturing techniques and innovative design concepts will bring advanced technologies instrumental in ensuring not only the comfort of astronauts on the lunar surface, but also the much-needed human factor considerations absent from legacy spacesuits.”
To create the suits, the Axiom Space team and Prada engineers will work together to completely redesign existing suits, using state-of-the-art materials and design features. The suits will be more user-friendly, while protecting the crew against the hostile environment of space and the lunar surface, the companies said.
“Our decades of experimentation, cutting-edge technology and design know-how will now be applied to the design of a spacesuit for the Artemis era. It is a true celebration of the power of human creativity and innovation to advance civilisation,” said Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada's group marketing director.
Space has a mean temperature of minus 270°C, making the suits crucial to maintaining the crew's correct body temperature, while offering vital protection from radiation.
As well as supplying the astronaut with oxygen, the suits will also shield them from being hit by space dust, which comprises tiny pieces of rock moving many times faster than a bullet.
Suits to date have been heavy and cumbersome, taking a physical toll on the wearer. It is hoped the new materials developed will help resolve some of these issues, allowing the crew greater freedom of movement, which in turn will impact the exploration and experiments being conducted.
Planned for 2025, the mission is also the first to the previously unexplored lunar South Pole.
Axiom Space operates end-to-end missions to the International Space Station, and is developing its successor, Axiom Station – set to be the world’s first commercial space station in low-Earth orbit.