Using Flagsuit’s Award-Winning Flexible Joints
February 2, 2011, Southwest Harbor, ME – Flagsuit LLC, developer of “articulated inflatables” which include space suit components and hyperbaric suits, was recently awarded a contract to develop improved space suit glove assemblies for NASA. Under the sole-source contract Flagsuit will develop and test a number of advanced concepts, selecting the best to be incorporated into two pairs of gloves. NASA plans to use the glove assemblies as part of a full suit in manned test activities at the Johnson Space Center.
Peter Homer, Flagsuit’s founder and President, is the undefeated winner of NASA’s Astronaut Glove Centennial Challenges, held in 2007 and 2009. While Homer has been involved in several NASA funded projects as a contributor, this is the first time Flagsuit will act as a prime contractor to NASA. “This is a huge opportunity,” Homer said. While the Centennial Challenges focused on a relatively narrow mission profile (beat the current NASA glove in specific tests), this contract “will allow us to showcase the more advanced glove features we’ve been developing on our own.” Homer added that “NASA specifically requested that we include our patent pending flexible joint technology.”
This effort will also advance the state of the art in space suit gloves. A requirement is that the gloves be built to operate at an internal pressure of 8.3 pounds per square inch (psi), nearly twice the operating pressure of current space suits and gloves. Homer responded “we are confident we can do this since we’ve already produced gloves and arms for use at one atmosphere,” just shy of 15 psi. This requirement also fits well with Flagsuit’s ongoing internally funded development of a Hyperbaric Suit that will operate at 8 psi.
Homer concluded that the contract award from NASA “gives us confidence about what we’re doing and affirms that Flagsuit’s development plans are on the right track.”
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Flagsuit is a Maine limited liability company located in Southwest Harbor, Maine, on Mount Desert Island. The company is in the business of developing and producing low cost, highly functional gloves and pressure garments for commercial space suits, and related technologies. Flagsuit is working with NewSpace firms, aerospace prime contractors and government customers on crew protection systems, and concurrently developing a deployable Hyperbaric Suit that enables the military to bring immediately responsive treatment of mild traumatic brain injuries to the fight. Flagsuit’s products incorporate patent-pending soft joint technology for enhanced freedom of movement while under pressure. www.flagsuit.com.
Flagsuit is also the winner of 2009’s NewSpace Business Plan Competition, run by the Space Frontier Foundation.