Final Frontier Design Delivers MCP Gloves to NASA

Closeup screenshot of FFD’s pressure visualization and video documentation setup. (Credit: Final Frontier Design)
Closeup screenshot of FFD’s pressure visualization and video documentation setup. (Credit: Final Frontier Design)

BROOKLYN, NY, October 28, 2016 (FFD PR) – Final Frontier Design (FFD) has delivered a pair of functional Mechanical Counter Pressure (MCP) gloves to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. This marks a major milestone in FFD’s fixed-price contract with NASA for MCP gloves and represents a promising alternative in space suit pressure garment design.

Leveraging recent advancements in fabrics and materials, body scanning, and additive manufacturing (AM), FFD’s MCP glove design features:

  • Custom-shaped fingertips and palm restraint, formed over AM molds derived from laser hand scans, for improved fit and increased tactility
  • Adjustable finger length, finger crotch length, hand and wrist circumference for adaptable sizing
  • A soft, inflatable “wrist dam” for easy integration with traditional gas-pressurized suits and glove boxes, supplied by subcontractor SuperReleaser
  • Combined stretch fabric, inflatable chambers, lacing cords, zippers, and restraints to deliver required compressive forces to the body
  • Improved mobility of the fingers, decreased bulk and weight.
Mechanical Counter Pressure glove prototype (Credit: Final Frontier Design)
Mechanical Counter Pressure glove prototype (Credit: Final Frontier Design)

Frequently depicted in pop culture and movies, the skintight MCP design represents a major leap in space suit technology. FFD’s unique and functional MCP design utilizes both compressive elastic fibers and inflatable volumes; this MCP concept can greatly reduce bulk, weight, and complexity of current suit systems, while enabling enhanced mobility, functionality, ease of maintenance, overall user safety and system reliability.

According to Ted Southern, FFD’s President, “Our MCP gloves met or exceeded 30 NASA-levied requirements for the system, including pressure and leakage, structure and mass, size fit and mobility, and pressurized transition requirements. The contract included 4 days of in-house human testing involving NASA engineers and test subjects, and utilized a custom-built surface pressure sensing glove that allowed precise measurement of compressive forces delivered to the hand. We are very proud to have reached this milestone after 3 years of prototyping. We’re also extremely excited to continue our research by scaling our designs to a full-body MCP suit in the near future.”

In line with their roadmap to provide EVA space suits for deep space, planetary, and asteroid exploration, FFD has already begun developing new designs and prototypes for a complete MCP space suit.

Mechanical Counter Pressure glove test evaluation setup including glove chamber, video documentation, and pressure visualization. (Credit: Final Frontier Design)
Mechanical Counter Pressure glove test evaluation setup including glove chamber, video documentation, and pressure visualization. (Credit: Final Frontier Design)

FFD’s MCP gloves were completed as part of NASA Contract NNJ15HB11C with NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) Office of Game Changing Development titled the “High Performance EVA Glove (HPEG) project”. The overall objectives of the HPEG MCP project are to advance the flight readiness level of Extravehicular Activity (EVA) MCP glove design and to generate corresponding standards by which performance may be quantitatively assessed. FFD would like to thank NASA for the opportunity to execute this contract.

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. To learn more, visit: http://www.finalfrontierdesign.com

  • Nikolay Moiseev

    We did that!

  • JamesG

    Congrats! What TLR is NASA pegging this at?

  • windbourne

    congrats.
    I love seeing good work like this.
    I hope that you will go on to design more space suits, as well as consider the idea of going after regular gloves, etc.
    It would be nice to see you use domestic manufacturing and sales to lower the price on these.

  • Nikolay Moiseev

    thank you!