NASA Centennial Challenges: Astronaut Glove Challenge

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Astronaut Glove Features

Astronaut Glove Challenge

Peter Homer of Southwest Harbor, Maine won the first place prize of $250,000 and Ted Southern of Brooklyn, NY won the second place prize of $100,000. The competition was held on Nov. 19, 2009 at the Astronaut Hall of Fame in Titusville, Florida near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. This was the final Centennial Challenge competition for 2009. $3.65 million has been awarded in prizes this year.

In the pressure suits that astronauts must wear while performing a spacewalk, one of the toughest parts to design are the gloves. Like an inflated balloon, the fingers of the gloves resist the effort to bend them. Astronauts must fight that pressure with every movement of their hand, which is exhausting and sometimes results in injury. Furthermore, the joints of the glove are subject to wear that can lead to life-threatening leaks. The Astronaut Glove Challenge sought improvements to glove design that would reduce the effort needed to perform tasks in space and improve the durability of the glove. In this challenge, competitors demonstrate their glove design by performing a range of tasks with the glove in an evacuated chamber. The gloves are also tested to ensure that they do not leak.

In the 2007 challenge, Peter Homer won the prize of $200,000. Mr. Homer is an engineer from Maine. Since the competition, Mr. Homer has started his own company to produce spacesuit gloves. This is a great success story for the Centennial Challenges program. A new approach to spacesuit glove design was demonstrated and the commercial space industry has gained a new member.

Volanz Aerospace, Inc. manages this competition for NASA and you can read more about it at: http://www.astronaut-glove.us/

In the Media

Innovation: The Ultimate Travel Accessory (Inc.com)
-Taking a trip to space? These are the gloves for you.

Page Last Updated: September 30th, 2013
Page Editor: Brooke Boen