A spacecraft designed to eventually replace many spacewalking astronaut activities passed two key pressure tests in September, representatives from the company building the spacecraft told Space.com in an exclusive interview.
The spacecraft concept from Maryland-based Genesis Engineering Solutions is just big enough for one person; an astronaut would float inside the spacecraft for several hours and use robotic arms to manipulate equipment. Propulsive thrusters would allow the spacecraft to nestle close to a target, similar to NASA's Manned Maneuvering Unit jetpack that was briefly tested on astronaut spacesuits in the 1980s.
Instead of using a bulky spacesuit to do repairs on NASA's future Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway space station, for example, the Genesis spacecraft operator could use the robotic arms while remaining in relative comfort inside of an enclosed cockpit. [Take a Look Inside Lockheed Martin's Proposed Lunar 'Gateway Habitat for Astronauts]
But long before it flies in space, the Genesis spacecraft must pass several key tests on the ground.