Apollo Spacesuits

Apollo Spacesuits

An underwear firm Playtex worked with engineers and designed a suit capable of keeping Apollo astronauts alive in space.

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The secret behind the spacesuits than put man on the Moon has been revealed as a team of seamstresses from underwear firm Playtex. They worked with engineers to design a suit capable of keeping a man alive in orbit and saw their design work by the Apollo astronauts.

The Playtex team secured the contract with their innovative-thinking, couture-level sewing skills and sheer determination. ILC’s team [International Latex Corporation, a division of Playtex], a motley group of seamstresses and engineers, led by a car mechanic and a former television repairman, manages to convince NASA to let them enter their 'test suit' in a closed, invitation-only competitive bid at their own expense.

They spend six weeks working around the clock, at times breaking into their own offices to work 24-hour shifts, to arrive at a suit solution that starkly outperforms the two invited competitors. In open, direct competition with larger, more moneyed companies, ILC manages to produce a superior space suit by drawing on the craft-culture handiwork and expertise of seamstresses, rather than on the hard-line culture of engineering.

The firm has gone on to huge success, and still makes Nasa's spacesuits.

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