The Z-2: NASA’s Next Generation Space Suit

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Amy Ross leads NASA’s efforts in advanced pressure garment technology and is spearheading the first total redesign of astronaut outerwear in nearly 30 years.

Her latest creation, called the Z-2 Spacesuit, is a $4.4 million dollar planetary exploration suit designed for walking the surface of the Moon, Mars, and any other landforms a spacecraft can land on.

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The most conspicuous innovation is a rigid shell on the back, called the “Suitplate Interface Port”.

The port allows astronauts to enter and exit the outfit by docking with a vehicle, forgoing a trip through an airlock, and pulls double duty as the attachment point for the Portable Life Support System—the backpack that provides oxygen, thermal regulation, and other functions.

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This is a closer-to-the-present version of the farther-out designs coming out of MIT; the latter still suffer from issues of material technology that remain to be solved.

Amy Ross of NASA via

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