To the uneducated observer, « Big Moe » and « Sweet Sue » looked like horizontal monoliths on the floor of the production plant of the International Latex Corporation (ILC) in Dover, Delaware. The giant sewing machines were the only two that were big enough (after the additions of an elongated arm and a new sewing bed) to accommodate the bulk of a nearly-completed A7L, the company’s answer to NASA’s demand for a spacesuit that could withstand Bed Sheets the punishing conditions of lunar exploration.
The « A » was for Apollo, Bed Sheets Malaysia NASA’s blanket name for the moon missions; the « 7 » signified the generation of suit; the « L » was for ILC and latex, some of the most crucial material in the 21 layers being stitched and glued together around the clock.
Using modified versions of the same Singer sewing machines used for girdles, bras, and diaper covers, ILC-better known by their overarching consumer brand label, Playtex-was, after a successful bid on the job, charged to protect astronauts from the jagged rocks, lack of oxygen, and searing heat (and freezing cold) on the moon’s surface. The women assembling the suits had been pulled from undergarment assembly lines, sometimes working in excess of 80 hours a week to make sure the suits were ready on time.
A few of the seamstresses would post a picture of the astronaut whose outfit they were tailoring near their stations [PDF]. It was a reminder that the work they were doing was a different kind of support system than they were used to providing. One errant stitch could mean thousands of dollars in wasted expenses. It could also mean someone’s life.
That fear was more present in some space explorers than others. One seamstress kept a note that an astronaut had sent to the factory. « I would hate, » it read, « to have a tear in my pants while on the moon. »
Of all the military-industrial businesses to try and seduce NASA into being awarded a contract, Playtex was by far the least likely contender. Formed in 1932 by A.N. Spanel, the garment manufacturer had found its niche in rubber and latex-sourced underwear, particularly the form-fitting girdles that had slowly overtaken corsets in the first part of the 20th century.
Although most of their business stemmed from intimate apparel, Playtex maintained a small but busy Industrial Products Division that had secured contracts with the Air Force in the 1950s for pressure helmets [PDF]. They had also come close to winning a bid for high-altitude flight suits with mobile joints, as well as a contract for NASA’s Mercury and Bed Sheets Malaysia Gemini programs.
When NASA began soliciting bids for their spacesuit development in 1961 following President John F. Kennedy’s public declaration of a moon visit, Playtex threw their name into the hat. At a time when the space agency was preoccupied with hard-shelled suits for lunar exploration, Playtex’s premise of a « convolute, » or bellow-shaped joint, was intriguing. The flexion of the elbows, knees, wrists, ankles, and shoulders allowed a suit to maintain air pressure (3.75 pounds of oxygen per square inch) while keeping the wearer mobile enough to bend over, pick up objects, and climb ladders.
NASA was impressed, but Playtex’s lack of experience with industrial outfitting was worrisome. If you cherished this report and you would like to obtain additional data with regards to Bed Sheets Malaysia (www.zalora.com.my) kindly stop by our web-page. Instead, they signed with longtime military supplier Hamilton-Standard in 1962 for the suit’s hardware-like the backpack life support system that offered recirculated oxygen-and directed them to subcontract with Playtex for issues relating to fabrics.
The marriage was awkward from the start. Hamilton-Standard had a regimented approach to design that more closely resembled a blueprint for a machine; Playtex, Bed Sheets Malaysia in contrast, saw the spacesuit as an extension of the human inside of it. Hamilton wanted a second, back-up pressurized bladder installed in case the first one suffered from failure. It was a practical idea, but it also severely hindered movement: In a January 1964 test in simulated lunar gravity, the wearer, lying on his back, couldn’t get up.
Around the same time, Playtex took note of how a front-closing suit’s zipper could become too strained when the astronaut moved forward. When it asked Hamilton-Standard to fund exploration of a rear-entry suit, the company declined.
The two accomplished relatively little between 1962 and 1965. One of the most important features, a protective outer layer that could resist micrometeoroid showers, was developed by NASA internally; Hamilton-Standard pioneered a cooling tube system to regulate body temperature. (The moon could see days as hot as 300 degrees Fahrenheit and Bed Sheets nights as cool as -271.) Hamilton-Standard also busied itself with a self-labeled « tiger » suit that they felt addressed Playtex’s shortcomings, a side project that further fractured their working relationship.
In February 1965, Hamilton-Standard made an appeal to NASA: Playtex, they argued, Bed Sheets Malaysia was a consumer brand that couldn’t work within the confines of the complex engineering the suits required. One of the project leaders, George Durney, was a former sewing machine salesman, Bed Sheets Malaysia not a scientist. They didn’t have thousands of sheets of paper documenting every inch of work performed. Bureaucracy wasn’t their strong suit.
NASA agreed. That same month, Hamilton-Standard terminated Playtex. They no longer had a lane in the space race.