Friday, June 13, 2008

NASA taps Oceaneering to build spacesuits for moon

By Irene Klotz

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA has turned to a new lead contractor to build spacesuits for its revived lunar exploration program that aims to land astronauts on the moon again by 2020, officials said on Thursday.

Oceaneering International Inc of Houston defeated a bid by Exploration Systems and Technology, a joint venture of current lead spacesuit contractors United Technologies Corp's Hamilton Sundstrand of Windsor Locks, Connecticut, and ILC Dover of Frederica, Delaware.

The contract, worth up to $745 million, includes design, testing, evaluation and production of two types of spacesuits. One would be worn by astronauts traveling on NASA's new Orion spaceships and be used for emergency spacewalks, and another for astronauts working on the lunar surface.

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