This paper presents the results of the breadboarding study phase of a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (FTIR) based trace gas monitor for the use on-board a manned spacecraft. The FTIR system configuration includes a multiple-reflection long path gas cell, a half-wavenumber resolution interferometer, and a mercury-cadmium-telluride (MCT) detector. In the study, the emphasis was put on the achievement of a predefined analytical performance using a state-of-the-art multivariate analysis method. Robustness of the employed algorithms was to the fore rather than a sophisticated FTIR instrumentation. The achieved results show high accuracy in detecting trace gases in the range between the (lower) long-term and (higher) short-term Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentration (SMAC) limits. The project has demonstrated a good proof-of-concept for the use of an FTIR system in manned space flights. The detection technique studied can also be considered for terrestrial applications such as work place or indoor air monitoring.This work was funded by the European Space Agency.