The creation of the Apollo AL7 Pressure Garment is one of the great American stories of the past forty-plus years. […] NASA turned the creation of the spacesuit into a competition (largely dominated by military contractors)—and it was assumed a military contractor would win the day.
Instead, pitted against the military-industrial complex, Playtex created the 21-layer spacesuit, each layer distinct yet interrelated in function to the rest of the whole—a masterly combination of elegance, complexity, and form. […] Traditional engineering firms could not figure out how to meet all the mission requirements and create a functioning suit that would keep the Apollo astronauts alive. The seamstresses at Playtex, with their years of experience fashioning girdles and bras, could, and did.
It was the same materials. It was bras in space. It was literally the same materials that were used in the bra-making process. The straps from bras were reused to hold the thing into shape and the Nylon fabric that a bra-cup is made of was used to give strength to the Latex so that it didn’t expand under air pressure. Then the Latex itself was the same, as they say it started out as exactly the same Latex as went into the girdles […]
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
President John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962, speaking to incoming freshman students at Rice University, Houston, Texas
Wow how time flies
I had intended to reblog this back on July 8, but it completely slipped mind.
Oh well, happy belated anniversary to me!
… call 303-499-7111
(Inspired by Jim Stafford)
SpaceX Soft Lands Falcon 9 Rocket First Stage
Following last week’s successful launch of six ORBCOMM satellites, the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage reentered Earth’s atmosphere and soft landed in the Atlantic Ocean. This test confirms that the Falcon 9 booster is able to consistently reenter from space at hypersonic velocity, restart main engines twice, deploy landing legs and touch down at near zero velocity.
After landing, the vehicle tipped sideways as planned to its final water safing state in a nearly horizontal position. The water impact caused loss of hull integrity, but we received all the necessary data to achieve a successful landing on a future flight. Going forward, we are taking steps to minimize the build up of ice and spots on the camera housing in order to gather improved video on future launches.
At this point, we are highly confident of being able to land successfully on a floating launch pad or back at the launch site and refly the rocket with no required refurbishment. However, our next couple launches are for very high velocity geostationary satellite missions, which don’t allow enough residual propellant for landing. In the longer term, missions like that will fly on Falcon Heavy, but until then Falcon 9 will need to fly in expendable mode.
We will attempt our next water landing on flight 13 of Falcon 9, but with a low probability of success. Flights 14 and 15 will attempt to land on a solid surface with an improved probability of success.
This message was sent from SpaceX to […]. It was sent from: […], SpaceX, 1 Rocket Road, Hawthorne, CA 90250. For more information on SpaceX, please visit http://www.spacex.com