Friday, November 20, 2009

Mainer wins NASA glove competition - Again!

NASA has awarded Peter Homer of Southwest Harbor, Maine,  $250,000 for coming up with the winning design concept for more flexible space gloves intended to make it easier for astronauts to perform tasks.

It's the second time Peter Homer has won the so-called "Astronaut Glove Challenge" -- Homer bested the competition in the same contest in 2007.

Homer's design won first place in this year's competition, held yesterday at the Astronaut Hall of Fame in Titusville, Florida. The second place prize of $100,000 went to Ted Southern of Brooklyn, N.Y.NASA officials say the competitors demonstrated their glove designs by trying out a range of tasks in a pressurized chamber. "It is remarkable that two designers working on their own could create gloves that meet the requirements for spaceflight -- a task that normally requires a large team of experts," says NASA engineer Kate Mitchell in a statement.

In order to qualify for a prize, the gloves had to meet all of the basic requirements of NASA's current spacesuit gloves and exceed their flexibility. The gloves also were tested to ensure they would not leak.
Competitors had to develop a complete glove, including the outer, thermal-micrometeoroid-protection layer and the inner, pressure-restraining layer. In the 2007 competition, only the pressure-restraining layer was required.

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