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Special Vermont-made glasses for NASA to take off into space - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Special Vermont-made glasses for NASA to take off into space

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ESSEX, Vt. -

Vermont technology is blasting off into space this month.

Sparks fly behind the scenes in Essex, where some of the most cutting-edge glasses are being developed.

And these are out of this world... literally. 

They are a specialized set of glasses developed for NASA's astronauts on the International Space Station. NASA came to Revision Military Technologies needing to keep astronauts' eyes safe from lasers used in the automatic docking system. And the space agency needed them in just a couple of months.

"We were flattered that they asked us to do it. I will say that we had to work almost around the clock to get the job done," said Michael Dubie, Revision president. 

"It took it right up to the wire. I have a FedEx receipt on the day it needed to go with almost a minute left before they closed," said Shaun Abraham, chief technology officer. 

On their other laser protection glasses used by pilots, Revision uses dye that blocks the dangerous wavelength. But NASA wanted two wavelengths blocked and the two dyes did not want to play together in one lens. They fought and canceled each other out.

"No single solution worked, so we actually had to come up with a composite hybrid lens and get it qualified for space in just a few months," said Abraham. 

Dual-layer glasses are a new venture for Revision. But they say their previous experience developing and testing new kinds of protective eyewear made it possible to meet NASA's tight deadline and have the two dozen pairs ready for launch. There are two sets heading into orbit - a lighter one for nighttime and a darker one for daytime. These new glasses will allow them to keep doing their regular work more safely.

"So, you had to be able to read the displays, as well as protect against those laser threats," said Abraham. 

They'll get to watch their handiwork take off on July 18, when a SpaceX rocket will blast off from Cape Canaveral in Florida and take these Vermont-made products out of the atmosphere.

In addition to the 24 heading to the space station this month, Revision has 176 more pairs scheduled to be delivered to NASA.

They say the Air Force may also be buying some.

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