Greetings, and thanks for reading Axios Space. At 1,360 words, this week's newsletter will take you about 5 minutes to read.
Please send your scoops, tips, questions and astronaut ice cream to email@example.com, or just reply to this email.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
As NASA pushes back to the Moon, the space agency faces a major engineering challenge: building a new spacesuit in time for the 2024 deadline.
The big picture: Spacesuits are arguably an astronaut's most important tool in space. The suits are designed for a particular mission and tailored to a specific astronaut in order to allow him or her to work safely in a vacuum.
Details: For the Artemis mission to the Moon, NASA astronauts must have the flexibility to bend down, examine rocks and collect samples — all in one-sixth of the gravity on Earth.
Where it stands: NASA's new suits have been in development for some time and will need to fit a variety of different bodies, as the agency is aiming to send the first woman to the Moon.
“The requirements of Moon suits are more challenging than LEO alone, but the suit we use on the Moon will also meet the needs of the International Space Station with very little, if any, modifications,” Aitchison said.
Between the lines: Building a spacesuit takes hundreds of millions of dollars of investment.
The bottom line: NASA needs a new spacesuit for its next mission but it's unclear if the agency will have the Congressional support it needs to deliver the suit well ahead of the 2024 deadline.
NASA astronaut Suni Williams in a SpaceX spacesuit. Photo: SpaceX
Spacesuit design is focused on function over form, but aesthetics can still play a role.
The big picture: "The design issue is always something that people don't really talk about, when they're talking about spacesuits," Cathy Lewis, the Smithsonian's spacesuit curator, told Axios. "They think they're completely functional, but in any sort of design environment, there are aesthetic choices."
Today, private companies are also showing off their unique styles through spacesuit design.
Go deeper: How to dress for space (Washington Post)
The New Shepard rocket at launch. Photo: Blue Origin
Blue Origin is a few test flights away from flying people to suborbital space by the end of the year, CEO Bob Smith told Axios.
Why it matters: If the Jeff Bezos-founded company does manage to get humans flying to the edge of space aboard its New Shepard system before the end of the year, it makes the company a major player in the suborbital game.
Details: Blue Origin’s last New Shepard test occurred on May 2, marking the 11th successful flight of the system and 5th flight for that particular rocket and booster.
The big picture: Instead of just focusing on one element of the space business, Blue Origin has a variety of different projects in the works, including its Blue Moon lander — designed to bring cargo and one day people to the lunar surface — and large New Glenn rocket.
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Bob Smith said the company would fly a few test flights before the end of the year rather than two flights.
Last week, NASA extended the life of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite for 2 more years, through at least 2022.
Why it matters: TESS is tasked with searching for relatively small worlds around cool stars not far from our own, and it’s expected to find dozens of them during its life in space.
Details: TESS is just at the end of the first year of its primary mission. In that time, the telescope discovered a variety of planets, including one that’s only about 80% the size of Earth.
Go deeper: Explore the interactive TESS graphic
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
NASA legend Christopher Kraft dies at 95 (Robert D. McFadden, New York Times)
The Milky Way devoured another galaxy and we've spotted the remains (Leah Crane, New Scientist)
Hawaiians protest the construction of a telescope on Mauna Kea (Dakin Andone, Sarah Jorgensen and Polo Sandoval, CNN)
India successfully launches Chandrayaan-2 (Times of India)
Special report: Factory Moon (Axios)
Let's take a moment to appreciate another Apollo mission.
During Apollo 12 — which flew in November 1969 — Bean and fellow astronaut Pete Conrad were on the surface of the Moon for about 31 hours and went on moonwalks for about 8 hours, according to NASA.
Go deeper: Check out our Deep Dive about the Moon if you missed it Saturday.
Thanks for spending time with me this week! If this email was forwarded to you, subscribe here. 👩🚀