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NASA Picks ILC Dover To Build Next-gen Spacesuit

ILC Dover of Frederica, Del., bested David Clark Co. to win a $4.4 million NASA contract to build a next-generation Z-2 spacesuit for Johnson Space Center to put through its paces.

ILC Dover’s long history of building spacesuits for NASA helped the company clinch the contract despite bidding 10 percent higher for the work than Worcester, Mass.-based David Clark, which manufactured the orange pressure suits space shuttle astronauts wore for launch and entry.

An April 16 source selection statement shows that NASA liked some features of David Clark’s spacesuit design, including its use of carbon fiber and titanium to save weight and mass. But ILC Dover, the document says, presented a feasible plan for achieving even greater weight savings, reducing the mass of the suit to 65 kilograms, or 11 kilograms below the requirement.

ILC Dover also scored points for proposing to deliver an additional torso concept that would increase the Z-2 suit’s fit and mobility.

“In making my decision, I found that there were material discriminators in Past Performance and Value Characteristics that were significantly more important than Cost and therefore offers the best value to the Government. ILC’s Past Performance provides the Government with a high level of confidence that they will successfully perform the work required under the contract and those Value Characteristics proposed. As a result of this assessment, I select ILC Dover for the Advanced Space Suit for High Fidelity Testing Contract,” wrote Robert T. LaBrier, the NASA official in charge of awarding the spacesuit contract.

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