Prada is synonymous with fashion and luxury, but soon it will also leave its mark in space. The famous Italian firm will help Axiom Space develop spacesuits that will be used in NASA's Artemis III mission, which will take place in 2025.
Prada's choice to work together on the project sounds unusual, but it makes a lot of sense. The company is not limited to designing top-notch clothing, but also has an engineering department that is dedicated to exploring new materials and their application in fashion.
While Axiom Space has already demonstrated a prototype of the spacesuits that will be used in the Artemis missions, the company still has a lot of work to do. The company says Prada will help them realize the outer layer of the Axiom Extravehicle Mobility Unit (AxEMU) device.
The Italians will work to ensure that the "skin" of the suit to be worn by NASA astronauts on the Moon is tough enough, but without detracting from comfort and maneuverability.
Michael Suffredini, CEO of Axiom Space, emphasized the importance of Prada's contribution to the completion of its vision for Artemis III:
"Prada's technical expertise in raw materials, manufacturing techniques and innovative design concepts will enable the introduction of advanced technologies that will be crucial to ensure not only the comfort of astronauts on the lunar surface, but also the much-needed consideration of the human factor not present in older spacesuits," he said.
Artemis III wears Prada.
Just because Prada is one of the most famous fashion brands in the world doesn't mean that its contribution to spacesuits for future Artemis missions will involve extravagant design or anything like that. In fact, the company has considerable experience with composite materials, which it has applied beyond the runways.
For example, in the nineties, Prada designed and built its own yacht with a carbon fiber hull to compete in the America's Cup. Since then, it has remained very active in this area with the Moon Rossa Prada Pirelli team.
The Italian brand's awareness of different raw materials is crucial to giving its spacesuits a unique style, Axiom Space claims. The aerospace company's CEO told Space News that Prada's skills could help make the AxEMU lighter. In particular, if the use of composite materials on important parts of the torso and pants can be adapted.
In the meantime, Prada has proudly accepted the challenge:
"Prada's ever-advancing spirit towards humanity has extended to the desire for adventure and the discovery of new horizons - space. Our decades of experimentation, cutting-edge technology and design expertise will now be applied to the development of the Artemis Era spacesuit. This is a true celebration of the power of human creativity and innovation to advance civilisation," said Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group Marketing Director.
NASA originally developed spacesuits for astronauts as part of the Artemis missions. In 2022, however, it announced that Axiom Space would take over the task. Meanwhile, in March, the company unveiled the first prototype of the AxEMU in black with orange trim. However, the company has indicated that the final version will be white to reflect heat.
With the announcement of the collaboration with Prada, the company has shared new images of the prototype with its final colour. It is not yet known when the Artemis III spacesuits will be ready. However, it goes without saying that they should be finalised well in advance to undergo rigorous testing.With the announcement of the collaboration with Prada, the company has shared new images of the prototype with its final colour. It is not yet known when the Artemis III spacesuits will be ready. However, it goes without saying that they should be finalised well in advance to undergo rigorous testing.