How a bra-maker wound up designing the Apollo spacesuits

How a bra-maker wound up designing the Apollo spacesuits

If there’s anything to take away from Space Week, it’s an appreciation for the dizzying complexity that comes with sending humans into outer space. Exact precision must be taken every step of the way, from the endless calculations that are needed to design flight trajectory to the spacesuits that astronauts wear in space. Speaking of which, there’s a rather surprising story behind the design of the iconic Apollo spacesuits: they were designed by Playtex, the women’s undergarment company best known for making bras.

Designing a spacesuit is no easy task. The suits have to be inflated and pressurized from the inside—meaning, they had to carry around a tiny version of the atmosphere human beings require to stay alive. They also need to be tough, able to withstand a temperature range of perhaps 500º, from –280º in shadow to +240º in sun. The most daunting challenge,…
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