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Italian-made for Mars

Skills acquired in the development of PPE during the pandemic taken to the next level in the SMOPS project.

6th April 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Bergamo, Italy


A group of Italian companies headed by RadiciGroup has created the first spacesuit for analogue simulation fully designed and engineered in Italy for the Space Medicine Operations (SMOPS) Mars mission.

This project was promoted and organised by Mars Planet – the Italian chapter of the Mars Society headquartered in Bergamo, under the patronage of the Italian Space Agency.

The SMOPS analogue mission is mainly focused on space medicine – the health monitoring of future astronauts and the development of support technologies for the simulation of life in space and planet environments.

RadiciGroup teamed up with Italian textile companies including Eurojersey, Vagotex and Defra to realise the project, supplying the materials to make the suits for the six astronauts participating in the mission and coordinating the development of the technologies needed to realise technical wear for extreme environmental conditions.

From April 10 to 23, the spacesuits will be used in a series of experiments carried out at the Mars Desert Research Station in the state of Utah, USA, that will simulate the life and work conditions mission crews will face on the Martian surface.

The Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. © RadiciGroup

“By participating in the SMOPS mission, RadiciGroup and the other textile companies involved in this project have had the opportunity to approach the frontier sector of aerospace,” said Filippo Servalli of Radici InNova, the RadiciGroup research and innovation company. “It has expanded and strengthened our know-how through experimenting with innovative solutions that may in the future, be applied in business sectors, such as biomedical or others that require high safety standards.

“Working on this mission, we were able to capitalise on the skills related to the development of personal protective equipment (PPE) acquired during the pandemic and then applied to the industrial sector, taking them to a higher level.”

The team developed and produced three items of technical wear featuring high health, comfort and performance standards, to allow the astronauts to move easily and safely outside the base station, with the support of advanced control, monitoring and communication systems.

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