by Nkem Emefiele
Prada, the iconic fashion house renowned for its leather handbags, shoes, and accessories, is venturing into uncharted territory: spacesuits.
Founded in Milan in 1913 by Mario Prada, the brand is synonymous with luxury and craftsmanship.
Now, Prada is teaming up with Axiom Space, a leading provider of human space flight services and developer of human-rated space infrastructure.
This collaboration stems from Axiom Space's recent $228 million contract win, propelling them to join forces with the Italian fashion giant, Prada. Their joint mission? To design spacesuits for the 2025 NASA Artemis III mission.
This event is particularly thrilling as the moon has not seen human presence in over five decades. It also marks a significant milestone in history as no woman has yet had the opportunity to set foot on the satellite.
The unexpected partnership may raise concerns about safety and design, as the responsibility of crafting NASA spacesuits now lies with Prada.
Fortunately, Prada boasts technical skills and expertise, honed through years of working with "raw materials."
They have the potential to create spacesuits that combine quality and practicality, potentially surpassing the flexibility of the suits used during the 1970s moon missions.
Surprisingly, fashion companies have a history of contributing to various fields. Prada once designed uniforms for the Italian navy in the 2000s, Burberry provided trench coats for the military during World War I, and Givenchy crafted uniforms for the French Royal Mounted police. Many fashion brands have collaborated with government forces, showcasing the diverse capabilities of the fashion industry.
Jeffrey Hoffman, a former NASA astronaut and current professor at MIT, voiced his confidence in Prada, stating, "Prada has considerable experience with various types of composite fabrics and may actually be able to make some real technical contributions to the outer layers of the new spacesuit."
So, while the idea of Prada spacesuits might seem unconventional, rest assured, there won't be any "paisley spacesuits or fancy patterns."
All will be unveiled in the Artemis III mission in 2025. Stay tuned for this unprecedented blend of fashion and space exploration.