Inventors to Unveil Private Spacesuit in New York
Co-inventor Nikolay Moiseev poses in the helmet of the new spacesuit he designed with partner Ted Southern. The two plan to unveil their spacesuit July 16 in New York. Full story.
Credit: Ted Southern

NEW YORK - Two inventors, one American and the other Russian, plan to unveil their new spacesuit design Friday in New York.

The new cosmic suit is designed to be worn inside a spacecraft during launch and re-entry, and is fully pressurized and includes high-tech gloves and a dome-like space helmet.

Moscow-based spacesuit engineer Nikolay Moiseev and Brooklyn-based inventor and artist Ted Southern teamed up to create the suit in a partnership they've dubbed Final Frontier Design. They plan to unveil their creation Friday at 6 p.m. EDT in New York at Eyebeam, an art-technology forum.

"The event is just to show the public a little bit of what we've been working on," Southern told "I think a lot of people don't really know what a spacesuit is, what's involved." [Graphic: Evolution of the Spacesuit]

Have spacesuit, will travel

The team will demonstrate the pressurization of the suit with a burst test, where the suit's arms and legs are pumped full with water until they reach their breaking point.

"We'll show the suit can withstand many times over the pressure its intended for," Southern said.

A vacuum chamber glove box will also be available for guests to test out what it's like to work with their hands inside the gloves.

The inventors don't have any customers yet for their suit, but hope to eventually attract commercial space companies such as SpaceX, Orbital Sciences and Virgin Galactic, which are currently working on building the first private ships capable of flying humans to space.

Former competitors team up

Southern and Moiseev originally met as competitors in the first NASA-sponsored Astronaut Glove Challenge in 2007, which offered $200,000 to inventors able to build a spacesuit glove that improved on the current NASA spacesuit design.

Southern and Moiseev teamed up after that competition and together won second place ? and $100,000 ? in the 2009 astronaut glove challenge.

Their new suit, though designed for functionality, is also rather fashionable, Southern said.

"The suit is bright yellow for visibility reasons, but there's a certainly aesthetic to that that is fashionable I guess," Southern said. "And the design of the helmet is a functional one but it ends up being good-looking too."