Final Frontier Design Wins NASA Spacesuit Glove Contract

FFD evaluating tactility of an early-stage MCP glove prototype in delta pressure conditions. (Credit: Final Frontier Design)
FFD evaluating tactility of an early-stage MCP glove prototype in delta pressure conditions. (Credit: Final Frontier Design)

BROOKLYN, NY, August 24, 2015 (FFD PR) – Last week, Final Frontier Design (FFD) was awarded its first fixed-price contract for the delivery of a functioning mechanical counter pressure (MCP) glove system next Summer.

“This marks a significant milestone for FFD,” says Ted Southern, President of FFD. “This is directly in line with ambitious goals, set by NASA, to greatly enhance the capabilities, safety, and technology of future human space exploration. MCP represents the potential to greatly reduce the bulk, strain, and limitations of current space suits while vastly increasing thermal efficiency. We’re especially excited and motivated.”

While the idea of an MCP space suit is not new, the space industry has yet to develop a functioning skin-tight space suit system that can serve as a viable alternative to current in-service air-pressure garments.

FFD MCP glove system diagram. (Credit: Final Frontier Design)
FFD MCP glove system diagram. (Credit: Final Frontier Design)

FFD seeks to enhance recent research and build upon the original concept of an MCP suit by leveraging significant technological advancements made in the intervening decades, including high-tech one-way stretch fabrics, capabilities in 3D modeling, additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping of restraint components and skin interfaces, and precision sensor rigs for testing and fine calibration.

The award, for $366,710, is FFD’s seventh award from NASA and its first fixed-price contract. The contract lasts for a period of approximately 12 months, and will be performed in partnership with Super-Releaser, a Brooklyn-based soft robotics tech start-up.

About Final Frontier Design

Final Frontier Design is a Brooklyn-based private design firm crafting aerospace safety garments and space-inspired fashion for the future of space travel and terrestrial life.

  • John

    The first picture reminds me of a rig that Adam Savage from Mythbusters built to demonstrate just how hard it is to manipulate a pressurized spacesuit glove in vacuum. Very interesting work, I wish FFD good luck.

  • windbourne

    Congrats.

    I have to wonder, if there is any ability to add various sensors on the glove with feedback to the hand? That would make it easier to do various work outside.

  • therealdmt

    I’ve loved the whole skin tight spacesuit idea ever since I first encountered it in a (iirc) Jerry Pournell sci-fi story when I was a kid. I’ve read that making the concept work for the hands was one of the hardest parts though, so it’s exciting to read about this contract. This also complements Dava Newman being made Deputy Administrator of NASA. Real progress in spacesuits could be in store…