NASA Selects Final Frontier Design to Develop EVA Glove

Final_Frontier_Ted Southern_Launch_Position_Flight_Simulator
NASA has selected Final Frontier Design for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I award to develop a high-pressure extravehicular activity (EVA) glove.

“Final Frontier Design’s (FFD) High Pressure EVA Glove (HPEG) is a game changing technology enabling future exploration class space missions,” the company said in its proposal. “The high operating pressure allows astronauts to conduct EVAs without a pre breathe penalty, greatly increasing efficiency. The HPEG increases astronaut comfort and reduces fatigue by allowing for a large Range of Motion with low joint torque throughout.”

Phase I feasibility studies are for six months and a maximum of $125,000. Firms that successfully complete this phase are eligible to submit a proposal for Phase II proposal, during which selectees will expand on the results of the developments in Phase I. Phase III awards examine the commercialization of Phase II results and requires the use of private sector, non-SBIR, funding.

The proposal is below.

High Pressure EVA Glove (HPEG)
Subtopic: EVA Space Suit Pressure Garment Systems

Final Frontier Design
Brooklyn, NY

Principal Investigator/Program Manager
Mr. Theodore Southern

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 5

Technical Abstract

Final Frontier Design’s (FFD) High Pressure EVA Glove (HPEG) is a game changing technology enabling future exploration class space missions. The high operating pressure allows astronauts to conduct EVAs without a pre breathe penalty, greatly increasing efficiency. The HPEG increases astronaut comfort and reduces fatigue by allowing for a large Range of Motion with low joint torque throughout. In its current configuration, the glove has shown no signs of hand or fingernail trauma, representing a lower injury risk than current technology. Further, mass reductions from new materials and processes ensure that the HPEG will weigh significantly less than current technology.

Sizing capabilities of the HPEG are also a technical improvement over current methods. FFD can establish all tooling, flat patterns, and restraint components from laser hand scans, deriving complex anthropomorphic geometries to exactly match the contours of the hand at the palm and fingertips, while customized flat pattern sizing occurs parametrically according to pre-defined hand anchor/reference points.

Phase I of the HPEG will include 2 build rounds, with preliminary testing to take place unmanned during the contract, and a deliverable to include a single pressure garment and outer garment of the glove.

Potential NASA Commercial Applications

NASA requires high performance, high pressure EVA gloves for future exploration class missions beyond low Earth orbit. Glove efficacy directly translates to astronaut efficiency in many instances, and current glove technology has proven to be both limiting and the source of injury for astronauts, in addition to being expensive. The HPEG represents a cost effective and performance enabling, next generation EVA space suit glove solution for NASA.

Potential Non-NASA Commercial Applications

EVA is not currently a commercial requirement beyond NASA, so the direct application of the HPEG beyond NASA is limited. However, FFD has identified several spin off technologies enabled by this glove development that are directly related to the research proposed here, including: -IVA Space Suit / Pilot Gloves: FFD has recognized the need for high performance pressurized gloves for IVA/LEA applications, and look to incorporate the technologies of the HPEG into their IVA suit -Firefighter’s Gloves: the multilayer firefighter’s glove is currently a limiting factor in firemen’s turnout gear, with crude sizing, limited tactility, and basic patterning. FFD is currently developing next generation firefighter’s gloves using patterning technology found in the HPEG -Dry Suit Diving Gloves: pressure tight and thermally insulating dry suit diving gloves represent a new market for glove performance and materials advancement.

Technology Taxonomy Mapping

  • Protective Clothing/Space Suits/Breathing Apparatus