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 guthook 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.
On July 1, 2000, Emerson announced his semi-retirement from custom knifemaking in order to concentrate on this new production company and to fill the thousands of outstanding orders for his custom work. He still makes custom knives available for sale at knife shows, but takes no orders for new custom work. Since 1995 the only way to get a new custom knife from Emerson himself is through a lottery held at knife shows where he is present. Depending on the size of the show, as many as several hundred potential buyers write their names on individual pieces of paper at his booth, and at a predetermined time a name is drawn. The winner gets a chance to buy one of the custom knives brought to the show