The Johnson Space Center (JSC) will undertake testing of three versions of Nasa’s new spacesuit for the Orion exploration mission.

The prototype suits will be tested to compare their utility for various tasks in a mock-up of the new configuration of the Orion crew cabin.

JSC Constellation spacesuit engineer Nicole Jordan said that they were putting three suits into the mock-up that were close to what the new suit would look like.

The suits will be pressurised for the first time during the tests to give an idea of how the astronauts will perform when stiffened by the internal pressure.

The modular Constellation suit includes a soft suit to be worn during launch and re-entry and in any depressurised condition including extravehicular activity.

A hard component for eventual lunar excursions will mate arms, legs and perhaps the boots and helmets from the previous-configuration ascent and entry suit with a hard-configuration torso equipped with life support and batteries.

The Orion mission is a Nasa initiative to send manned spacecraft to the moon for lunar exploration, which is part of the Constellation programme.