Mary Roach wrote about this in her book Packing for Mars. Apparently the idea didn’t go over too well with some in the ultra-macho culture that pervaded NASA at the time.
Before that the David Clark company that made the classic radio headsets was also primarily in the bra business. Bob Hoover wrote that he and Chuck Yeager flew out to tour the factory and were given cases of all kinds of samples to take home for the wives.
Then they had a flight emergency on the way back. They came out fine, but they were horrified to think what would have happened had the undies had been found in the wreckage!
Yes, Mary’s book is fantastic. She’s written about similar subjects for Boing Boing too!
Seems perfectly logical. Would you prefer a space suit made by Microsoft?
I wouldn’t want my spacesuit shutting down in the middle of EVA because it needed to install updates.
Twenty-four men flew to the moon in this space suit on nine separate missions. Not to mention the Apollo missions in Earth orbit, and Apollo applications like Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz. How come only Apollo 11 (and in the Smithsonian article, only Neil Armstrong) gets any love?
All the Apollo astronauts deserve our… support.
Mary Roach’s book is great, but I would suggest another if you’re inclined to learn more: Fashioning Apollo by Nicholas de Monchaux. It’s a great in-depth look at spacesuit design.
The overheating issue was, of course, resolved by that time.
It’s ironic that a company that designs garments intended to defy gravity was commissioned to build a suit for use where there is none.
The moon does have gravity though.
Under 2/10 of a G, but still plenty to keep you in contact with the dirt.
I don’t think this is too surprising. A really good bra is a well built thing to be sure.
Perhaps if they picked a different bra manufacturer they would have had EVAs that lasted up to 18 hours…
Edit: just re-read TFA, International Latex is Playtex, so they did posses the 18 hr technology…
Their initial meeting must have gone something like this,
The first test for the astronauts was to undo the fasteners behind their back with one hand without looking.
actually, I think either Nat Geo or Discovery Channel just ran a show on this. It was really interesting – the best part was the interviews with women about 75+ years old, who made the damn things, because they were the best. These were people who had made bras and girdles on the Playtex production line, and got seconded to the space suit division. Great story.
Wasn’t Apollo’s rope core memory woven at a pantyhose factory? Or something like that?
Well, they did need to encircle the moon.
There was one critical part that was not made by Playtex, but by Kimberly Clark.
Kimbies come in newborn, daytime, overnight, and astronaut.
You can sort of understand why when Skylab came around they refused to go unless there was an honest to god toilet.
This is my Spacesuit, and it protects me from space, dammit.
They told me so.
I believed them, dammit.
Goddamn spacesuit, dammit…