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NASA Knife

In 1999, NASA contracted Emerson to build a knife for use on Space Shuttle missions and the International Space Station. Rather than design a new model from scratch, NASA chose an existing model which already met their specifications, with one additional design requirement. The model is a folding version of the Specwar knife that Emerson had designed for Timberline with the addition of a gut hook cut into the tantō point of the blade with which astronauts could open their freeze dried food packages. The knife is not available for purchase outside of NASA.

Integral to it's tanto blade shape, the Specwar has a front edge on the chisel ground tip and a back edge along the length of the blade. In the case of the NASA knife, the front edge was sacrificed for the hook, leaving only a slight edge and the pointed tip in place. By poking the tip into vacuum-sealed packages, the plastic is split open by pulling the sharpened hook through the pouch.

“NASA needed something substantial, and they knew the reputation our knives have for strength and longevity. Working to a set of parameters defined by astronauts and engineers at NASA, several designs were considered and built. After a lengthy debate, a unanimous decision was reached. The Specwar fit all the requirements for size, weight, materials, strength and ergonomics.”


  • Edgar Jimenez says:

    That is awesome to see the oldest tool evolving in outerspace. The waves are not only at the beach they are on knives that serve humanity. Ernest and Lukas have forever left their stamp on the industry. The knife that has seen combat and astronomy.

  • Fernando says:

    That’s one beautiful knife-looks like a tool to cut seatbelts, hey there’s an idea The Emerson Emergency Tool.

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