At $1 Million Less Than NASA’s, Spacesuit Business Takes Off for Couple
Jim and Laurel Adamson’s spacesuit business is really taking off.
The Adamsons sold six spacesuits in the first year the business was launched. Now, seven years later, the couple sells 30 suits a year and rents others for $250 a day.
“Companies call NASA and ask to borrow a spacesuit. When NASA stops laughing, they refer them to us,” said Jim Adamson, co-founder of SpaceProps, in a telephone interview from his home in Greenfield, 150 miles south of San Francisco.
The real McCoy costs between $1 and $2 million and weighs several hundred pounds, he said. SpaceProps suits go for much less, $4,000 to $8,000, and weigh about 35 pounds.
SpaceProps is one of the few companies that designs and manufactures high-tech suits for film companies, education programs, amusement parks and museums.
Made from a heavy Teflon material that costs $100 a yard, the suits are relatively easy to wear for an extended period of time, Laurel Adamson said.
“We go for a realistic look on the outside but eliminate unnecessary things on the inside,” she said.
The couple share duties, with Laurel designing and sewing the outfits and Jim assembling the helmets and electronic control panels.
Louis Parker, exhibits manager at Johnson Space Center in Houston, said he receives at least one call a day from people looking for suits. He usually refers them to SpaceProps.
“They fill the bill quit nicely. It’s a nice thing about SpaceProps, people can wear them,” Parker said.
SpaceProps suits are on display at Universal Studios’ ET ride in California and Florida, Goddard Space Center and Langley Research Facility.