The first thing that stands out about the space suits at Final Frontier Design–aside from the fact that these are space suits hanging in an otherwise ordinary-looking Brooklyn workshop–is how colorful they are. One is full-body yellow like a spaceworthy banana. Another’s a combination of orange, bright as a safety vest, and black and yellow. A third suit mixes black with a rich red that evokes the iconic red suit of 2001: A Space Odyssey. None of the suits look much like the silver suits of the Mercury program, or the puffy marshmallow of Apollo, or any other suits NASA’s astronauts have made famous over the past 50 years. But the founders of Final Frontier Design, Ted Southern and Nikolay Moiseev, have their sights set on space. And they have a real shot at getting something they designed beyond the stratosphere.
In 2009, the pair won second place in NASA’s Astronaut Glove Challenge by building a glove that was better than the one NASA uses in space. Soon after, they founded Final Frontier Design to iterate on their glove and start working on other space projects. Their designs are innovative and colorful, built around a goal of cutting costs when it’s possible (and safe) to do so. They see a future market in consumer space gear, and that market will require cheaper equipment. And there’s a simpler reason for cutting costs: Final Frontier Design isn’t a defense contractor, or a government agency, or a startup with millions in angel investments. It’s just two guys in Brooklyn.