Moon-bound NASA astronauts get nifty sleeping bags for snoozing in space

NASA shows off new details of the Orion spacecraft that's meant to go to the moon.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
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NASA astronauts will use these cozy sleeping bags on the way to the moon and back.


Astronauts gotta catch some zzzs.  NASA plans to send Artemis-mission astronauts to the moon and back by 2024. The multi-day journey means the crew will need to get comfy and stay rested while traveling. NASA's Orion team just showed us how they'll do it.

The Orion Twitter account shared a look inside the spacecraft where four blue sleeping bags are arranged around the capsule. Four is the max number of crew members it's designed to hold.  

"Orion astronauts will be happy campers as they sleep under the stars 240,000 miles away from Earth," the Orion team tweeted.

NASA doesn't just hang sleeping bags from REI inside a spacecraft. A considerable amount of design and engineering work goes into making the crew comfortable for space snoozing. Jason Hutt, NASA's lead for Orion Crew Systems Integration, went into more detail in a Twitter thread.

Orion has six windows and each one is equipped with a shade to block out light. These are essentially the spacecraft version of blackout curtains. The shades have built-in openings to fit camera lenses so astronauts can snap the world outside while minimizing glare from the sun.

The lights inside the capsule are dimmed during sleep. "I've been asked why we don't just have the crew wear sleep masks," Hutt wrote. "The reason is fairly straightforward. For the baseline design, we try not to force the crew to have to wear something. Not everyone can sleep with a sleep mask."

The bags themselves can be positioned in various places around the capsule. They have arm holes that allow astronauts to hold a tablet while reclining. The bags are able to accommodate almost anyone. 

"From a design standpoint, bag needs to fit 99th percentile male in height," Hutt tweeted.

NASA's ambitious Artemis timeline hinges on quite a few factors, including funding and overcoming delays in the development of its Space Launch System. At least we know the sleeping bags are progressing smoothly.

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