High Performance Arm for an Exploration Space Suit
Award last edited on: 11/26/2013

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Theodore Southern

Company Information

Final Frontier Design LLC

63 Flushing Avenue Unit 163
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Location: Single
Congr. District: 07
County: Kings

Phase I

Contract Number: NNX13CJ29P
Start Date: 5/23/2013    Completed: 11/23/2013
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
Final Frontier Design (FFD) proposes to develop and deliver an advanced pressure garment arm with low torque and high Range of Motion (ROM), and increased durability, using their unique single layer approach to the pressure vessel joint.FFD has developed a flat patterned asymmetric shoulder joint for their current space suit pressure garment, with a natural position in human rest adduction, approximately -10 degrees. In addition, this joint has a focused point of rotation, like the human shoulder. Their design reduces discomfort from gathering of fabric in the armpit, provides a large ROM, favorable torque, and allows for close tracking of natural human anthropometry. In addition, FFD's elbow joint design show consistently high performance, in terms of ROM, torque, and operating pressure.This proposal also utilizes a unique approach to the pressure garment: the single layer integrated pressure garment joint as opposed to a traditional double layer bladder-restraint pressure garment. FFD's pressure garments have a host of important advantages over double layer pressure garments, including a lower mass, increased ROM, decreased torque, a thinner wall, the reduction of suit layers, the elimination of indexing, lower cost manufacturing, and flat-patterned ease of scaling and repeatability. This proposal will develop two design iterations of FFD's single layer pressure garment arm, to include both the elbow flexion-extension joint and the shoulder ad-abduction joint. The arms will be designed and tested for +8PSI operating pressure, to meet current ROM standards of NASA's pressure garments and test and increase FFD's technology cycling ability. FFD aims to increase their TRL in this project from 4 to 6 through Phase II of this contract.

Potential NASA Commercial Applications:
(Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words) NASA currently operates EVA in LEO. Future missions beyond LEO demand more robust and functional EVA equipment. A space suit with new arm joints could serve as a method to further increase the astronaut's productivity, work envelope, and further mission assurance for NASA. FFD is interested in working on the next generation pressurized garment for NASA's use in EVA beyond the ISS. The added benefits in mobility of astronaut within a highly functional pressure garment would ensure a significant advantage for NASA in future space missions. In addition, the proposed mass reduction in the pressure garment is highly desirable for several reasons, including launch weight and overall suit mass during EVA. FFD's pressure garment technology is comparatively very inexpensive to manufacture, easier to maintain, and easier to scale than many advanced concept space suit equivalents. Finally, the pressure garment components developed here could have a crossover interest in IVA space suit design, as they are soft, flat, and stowable.

Potential NON-NASA Commercial Applications:
(Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words) FFD has identified several potential Non-NASA commercial customers for their pressure garments, including their advanced arms. In 2011, we participated in negotiations with XCOR, Space Adventures, and Space-X, to provide pressure garments for their respective commercial space flight programs. There are several manned space access companies currently in the market for IVA suits beyond these providers, in the Commercial Crew Program of NASA and privately/suborbitally. In 2012, FFD was contracted to construct IVA safety garments for Zero2Infinity, a high altitude balloon company. We plan supply our first production IVA suits to customers by January 2013, and expect testing and validation in 2013. FFD sees a significant market in commercial IVA space suits in the near future.The arm joints developed under this contract have applications for commercial IVA suits. Our designs have unprecedented performance for IVA garments with a high operating pressure, large ROM, low torque, and low mass. Importantly, the garments are relatively inexpensive to produce and can be easily sized because they are flat patterned. Our target market price for an IVA pressure garment is $50,000.This SBIR will provide valuable testing and validation to allow FFD to flight certify their material concepts and designs. We see the testing and proof in flight certification as a significant hurdle to market commercialization for our product, and one that can be greatly assisted by this proposal.

Technology Taxonomy Mapping:
(NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.) Joining (Adhesion, Welding) Polymers Protective Clothing/Space Suits/Breathing Apparatus Smart/Multifunctional Materials Textiles

Phase II

Contract Number: ----------
Start Date: 00/00/00    Completed: 00/00/00
Phase II year
Phase II Amount