- Brooklyn, We Have a Problem…
Proving that things can get accomplished in teeny, tiny spaces, two Brooklyn-based men are putting their small Gowanus office space to use by designing and building prototypes for a new spacesuit for NASA.
Working together under the name Final Frontier Design, Ted Southern and Nicolay Moiseev have been busy crafting something a little different than their fellow Gowanus-based entrepreneurs. Instead of running a letterpress or pickling backyard-harvested green beans, the two men have been constructing spacesuits that they hope will be used by the growing privatized space industry.
Both men have prior experience in the industry, Moiseev spent almost twenty years working for the Russian Federal Space Industry and Southern (while not designing costumes for Broadway shows like Equus and The Little Mermaid) won $100,000 in a 2009 NASA contest for designing an astronaut glove.
Two things separate them from the rest of their competition in the game of spacesuit design.
One is their use of Kickstarter to raise the funds to complete their prototype. Southern says that the use of Kickstarter is unorthodox because it is so public and other designers are “worried about people stealing ideas. Kickstarter is open-sourced, but that’s a risk we’re taking—we wanted to be part of a community and not hide.” Instead of funding the erection of a statue of Robocop in Detroit or a friend of a friend’s latest passion project/web series, you have until July 15 to contribute to the completion of something that is actually useful.
Like, useful to the world. The world of very rich people who will soon get to orbit the Earth on the wings of Richard Branson’s hair or something.
The second thing that separates them from others in their field, is that Southern and Moiseev are working in Brooklyn—far, far away from the aerospace industry.
However, despite the fact that the likelier locations for a design base would be Houston or Cape Canaveral, Southern feels strongly about working in Brooklyn, “[I]t is the center of the world, so it’s hard to beat being here.”
And, though this rationale went unmentioned, it’s pretty clear that if the prototype could survive an experimental dip in the Gowanus Canal, it could almost certainly survive the extreme conditions of outer space.