NASA just unveiled its first new spacesuits in 40 years designed for future moonwalks

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VIDEO: The U-2 spy plane at the edge of space

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - NASA on Tuesday showed off two new spacesuits tailored for future moonwalking astronauts, signaling development of a crucial component to the space agency's accelerated drive to return to the Earth's moon by 2024.

Two NASA engineers strutted on a stage inside the agency's Washington, D.C. headquarters, donning the new spacesuits, modeling and doing squats and crunches in front of a crowd of students and reporters to reveal what the first zero-gravity space-wear under NASA's Artemis moon program would look like.


(Reuters/Carlos Jasso)

Advanced Space Suit Engineer at NASA Kristine Davis wears the xEMU prototype space suit next to lead engineer Dustin Gohmert wearing the Orion crew survival spacesuit prototype for the next astronaut to the moon by 2024, during a presentation at NASA headquarters in Washington, U.S., October 15, 2019.

"This is the first suit we've designed in about 40 years," Chris Hansen, a manager at NASA's spacesuit design office, said.

"What you saw today was a prototype of the pressure garment. The life support system is back in a lab in Houston," he said. "We want systems that allow our astronauts to be scientists on the surface of the moon"

The Trump administration in March directed NASA to land humans on the moon by 2024, accelerating a goal to colonize the moon as a staging ground for eventual missions to Mars.

One suit of orange fabric will be worn by astronauts when inside the spacecraft. Astronauts will wear a much bigger mostly white suit on the lunar surface.

The new suits make it much easier to walk, bend and squat when walking on the lunar surface, Amy Ross, NASA's lead spacesuit engineer, said.

"Basically, my job is to take a basketball, shape it like a human, keep them alive in a harsh environment, and give them the mobility to do their job," she said.

The new suits come as a much-needed upgrade to NASA's astronaut wardrobe. Astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain were slated in March to conduct the first ever all-female spacewalk outside the International Space Station, but the mission was called off because there weren't enough spacesuits available on the station for both of them.

Another attempt for the first all-female spacewalk, a roughly six-hour crawl on the exterior of the space station to install new batteries, is back on for Thursday, NASA said in a news release on Tuesday.

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An Army veteran from Columbus claimed he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after a deployment in Afghanistan that earned him a Purple Heart and Silver Star.

As a result, he collected $76,000 in benefits for the mental condition.

He admitted Wednesday, however, that all of that was a lie.

He was not deployed to Afghanistan, never suffered PTSD and never received the two honors, which are among the highest bestowed for military service.

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"Shortly after the holidays I will resign from Congress," Hunter, R-Calif., in a statement. "It has been an honor to serve the people of California's 50th District, and I greatly appreciate the trust they have put in me over these last 11 years."

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A collision between a Coast Guard boat and a Navy vessel near Kodiak Island, Alaska on Wednesday landed six coasties and three sailors to the hospital, officials said.

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The Navy has identified the two Defense Department civilians who were killed in a shooting Wednesday at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii.

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A shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida has left four people dead, including the gunman, law enforcement officials said at a Friday news conference.

The shooter and two victims were killed at the base and another victim died after being taken to the hospital, said Chip Simmons, deputy chief of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.

Another seven people remain hospitalized, including two sheriff's deputies who engaged the gunman, Simmons said at Friday's news conference. One was hit in the arm and the other was shot in the knee. Both are expected to recover.

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