Elon Musk Offers SpaceX to Make NASA Spacesuits for Proposed Moon Mission
Meanwhile, a China’s main spacecraft maker is developing a human landing system for lunar missions.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Inspector General Paul K. Martin recently announced that the agency’s goal of returning American astronauts to the moon by 2024 isn’t feasible because of significant delays in developing spacesuits.
Even though NASA will have spent more than a billion dollars on the next-generation spacesuits, Martin concluded that the “suits would not be ready for flight until April 2025 at the earliest” and are “years away from completion.”
The report attributes the delays to funding shortfalls, Covid-19 impacts and technical challenges. Currently, there are 27 different companies supplying various components for the suits.
However, SpaceX’s boss Elon Musk is coming to the rescue. He offered to make the equipment needed.
Elon Musk offered SpaceX’s services to help NASA make its next-generation spacesuits, after a watchdog report on Tuesday said the agency’s current program is behind schedule and will cost more than $1 billion.
“SpaceX could do it if need be,” Musk wrote in a tweet.
Musk’s company has developed and made flight suits for astronauts who launch into orbit in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. The flight suits are primarily designed to protect the astronauts in case of a fire inside of the spacecraft, or if the cabin depressurizes. Building spacesuits would be a more complex and challenging endeavor, given the need to survive outside of a spacecraft in the harsh environment of space.
NASA has been willing to work with commercial providers on big space projects, from delivering astronauts and cargo to the ISS to delivering hardware to the moon. In July, NASA said it would embrace commercial partnerships “to optimize spacesuit technology and inspire pioneering in the space market,” so Musk’s SpaceX offer is within the realm of possibility.
NASA said it would continue to develop xEMU in-house in parallel with any procurement activity. The agency expects to release a formal request for spacesuit and spacewalk support services proposals later this year with the goal of making awards in early 2022.
Part of the problem is that Team Biden has deemed 2024 “too unrealistic.” No matter the date set, it might be worthwhile having SpaceX design a new suit. The equipment has not been updated in years.
NASA has already spent $420 million on space suit development since 2007, before the advent of its Artemis program, and it plans to “invest approximately $625.2 million more” through 2025, the report said. The space suit’s design and purpose have changed repeatedly over the years as NASA’s priorities in space teeter between new administrations. A new Artemis-tailored space suit design, called xEMU, was unveiled in 2019. Current suits worn by astronauts on the International Space Station are restrictive, haven’t been upgraded in decades, and aren’t designed for long walks on the Moon.
Meanwhile, China’s primary spacecraft maker is developing a human landing system for lunar missions.
The brief news report from Xiamen University School of Aeronautics and Astronautics July 1 (Chinese) names individuals leading projects pertinent to China’s human lunar landing plans and notably refers to the landing project as a “national strategy”.
China is already known to be developing and testing new launch vehicles and a new-generation spacecraft capable of sending astronauts to the moon. A lunar landing and ascent system has one of the missing key components of a human lunar landing architecture.
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NASA is staffed with incompetent diversity hires that haven’t done real science in decades. FOURTEEN FUCKING YEARS on their spacesuit project.
The real reason they won’t hire Elon to do it? Because he’d actually deliver it on time and probably on budget. No opportunity for more graft and political payoffs to loyal Democrat contractors.
I seriously doubt Republicans are pure as the driven snow either.
Here’s the wind-driven snow. Snow-job, that is:
The 19 GOP senators who voted for the $1T infrastructure bill
Roy Blunt (Mo.)
Richard Burr (N.C.)
Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.)
Bill Cassidy (La.)
Susan Collins (Maine)
Kevin Cramer (N.D.)
Mike Crapo (Idaho)
Deb Fischer (Neb.)
Lindsey Graham (S.C.)
Chuck Grassley (Iowa)
John Hoeven (N.D.)
Mitch McConnell (Ky.)
Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
Rob Portman (Ohio)
James Risch (Idaho)
Mitt Romney (Utah)
OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate passes $1T bipartisan infrastructure bill |…
On The Money: Senate starts hours-long slog on $3.5T Democratic…
Dan Sullivan (Alaska)
Thom Tillis (N.C.)
Roger Wicker (Miss.)
Wouldn’t it be more productive to make such postings in the comment section of articles whose subjects are even remotely related to such postings?
They are absolutely not. But on the question of whether the government can design and have something built effectively or a company that is actively working in the field can do it better, bet against the government regardless of party.
But that’s not the question, and that’s the entire problem.
Musk is going to be sorry he made this offer.
NASA is stalled because they are insisting on kitchen-sink, $10,000-airplane-toilet-seat standards for this “product.” The very design requirements are unscientific, bureaucratic, and entirely unrealistic. NASA is filled with people who would design a tank to compete in NASCAR. Thy have a fetish for “saaaaafety,” but don’t have a record to justify it.
A third party steps up to do the fab? He inherits all the unrealistic design specs, PLUS an additional 30% effort in “oversight overhead,” because the government agency wants to micromanage and second-guess you every step of the way to ensure that the resulting product would be of the same high quality (please hold your laughter until the end) as the one they would produce in-house.
Good luck, Elon, from a guy with 25+ years in federal government contracting.
Gotta agree with Grizzly on this one.
Need to make a space suit for Biden. He’s so spaced out he got lost walking to the white house today:
“Another ‘senior moment’ as confused President Biden ignores Secret Service agent directions into White House and bizarrely walks onto lawn and they run after him. Secret Service agent points for him to follow the sidewalk path into White House.” (DailyMail)
Biden is confused where he’s at and walks off the sidewalk. Secret service agents run after him and attemp to steer him across the lawn, through the garden area and into another door of the white house.
Elon Musk where are you?
Need one for Harris, too. With a quick-open flap.
These videos came out over the weekend with the third video coming out this morning. Watching I felt as if I was listening to a historical figure.
(With many years in Construction I can’t stop hearing a voice in my head saying, “Put on a hardhat.”)
Give NASA a break, they were too busy reaching out to the Muslim world for Obama to worry about “space”.
Until voting has been cleaned up Democrats can manufacture votes at will or just enough to win.
Worked in at least 5 states in 2020, might be more now they have a winning game plan.
This reminds me of the time when the U.N. was contemplating rebuilding its iconic office tower at Oyster Bay. It was in need of a major refit and the cost was projected to be a couple billion dollars. Donald Trump, then just a developer, came along and said that he’d build them a new building of modestly larger size (“it’ll be bea-u-too-ti-ful” “it’ll be yuge” and so on) for about $700 million. Of course the U.N. didn’t take him up on it because, after all, they’re the U.N., and where was the graft in letting Trump do it?
Same thing here. Of course Elon can offer to make a better spacesuit that’s cheaper and faster to be ready. Where’s the graft in that?
Exactly this. People make the mistake of assuming that government contracts are about “the project,” when in reality they’re all about the graft.
Buried lede: there’s no ROI on space exploration and likely never will be. People forget that the Apollo missions weren’t about space exploration, they were about gunboat diplomacy and seizing the high ground.
China going to the Moon is gunboat diplomacy; it’s not a threat. China building a launch infrastructure that allows it to control LEO – that’s seizing the high ground, and it’s an existential threat.
Trump understood that, which is why he created the Space Force and paid lip service to Moon/Mars missions.
I recall the moon landing. I was in a camp ground just outside Linz Austria. The owner of the place had set up two or three TVs in a picnic shelter. I was the only one not watching. I just, flat, didn’t care.
I cared more for my age-mates fighting a war for… I’m not sure what. To me, it was exactly what Tom Lehrer called it: $20 billion to put some clown on the moon.