Emilie Springer: NOMAR goes to Space

Mar 2, 2021

A locally-sourced gear bag is assisting NASA with next moonshot.
Credit NOMAR

Nomar is a busy local business producing and providing gear from their expanding shop for many purposes, but one of their most exciting to report? A gear contract with NASA, National Air and Space Association, for the upcoming Artemis moon launch. Vessels across the marine industry in Alaska and beyond have been using reliable, sturdy, flexible, fast draining fish storage and brailer bags since 1982. Open the NOMAR web site and the first image and phrase that pops up, “Getting Here Takes Gear.”  Getting “there,” the moon, takes gear, too.  A NASA site explains: “Suppliers and small businesses across America have made contributions to the success of NASA’s Artemis program, with private companies hard at work on innovations that will help establish a sustainable human presence at the Moon.”
     Here is Nomar’s parachute bag story and how it began with a spit siting of the traditional brailer bag.

    In a few words from owner Kate Mitchell, “the Alaska Air National Guard were in Homer, around the year 2000, conducting water drills.”  More specifically: parachuting out of C-130s.  Mitchell says, “the military issued parachute bags weren’t ideal for the Kachemak Bay climate and one of the guys saw the NOMAR label on one of our bags somewhere on the Spit.  He came into the shop and described what they needed.  It sounded like a smaller version of our standard bag with a way to close off the top with a drawcord.”

     The Anchorage team made the first order of bags and when one of the crew was transferred to Florida, Nomar received an order from that station.  Later orders were made from New York, Arizona, Canada and Japan with variations in sizes to fulfill different needs.  Those exchanges eventually lead to NASA introduction.

     Mitchell reports that a NASA representative first contacted the business about four years ago, looking for a large bag in a bright color to be viewed and retrieved from the water.  “The exchange between the NASA engineers and the Nomar sew shop was a hoot,” she said.  The shop again used something originally fish related: something that could hold 2000 pounds of salmon.  The bag worked well and over the years, with internet business, NASA has purchased several storage containers.  

     Though the launch is still a few years off the Artemis crew, is in busy preparation mode and there are several images and film via web where interested audience can find glimpses of the gear in practice.

     That moon launch will prepare for the next step in space travel: Mars.  Nomar’s gear will be there for support.