The seamstresses behind NASA's space suit


13 Responses to “The seamstresses behind NASA's space suit”

  1. TJ Anderson says:

    it is still somewhat of a ‘couture handicraft’  I’ve worked with the women who will be working on the next gen of space suit at Oceaneering Space Systems (that is if they make it through the project/contract remodel alive).  Imagine going into the back room of an Asian tailor accept that everyone is wearing bunny suits and gloves. If you want more info on that let me know.

  2. Ito Kagehisa says:

    I met several of these ladies!  I visited ILC more than a decade ago, and they were still hard at work creating custom-fitted gloves for individual shuttle astronauts.

    I was impressed by their small-town warmth and politeness, as well as their calm competence.  Very nice people.

  3. Philip Tchernavskij says:

    BLDGBLOG also did a great interview with the author, specifically covering the angle of the spacesuit as the intersection in the Venn diagram of architecture and fashion:

  4. This is Amazing!  As a costumer and seamstress for a living, I make a lot of Space/Sci-fi Inspired outfits, but all for fashion, nothing for function.  These women are truly inspirational!

  5. Go Delaware! Home of the Space Suit. 

  6. doug rogers says:

    Brilliant. More something we have never thought about.  The highest technology the species ever made depends on the handicraft of women. Neglected and vastly under-praised.

  7. townandgownie says:

    Sigh, what a great book and I would LOVE to order it from MIT Press and give them all the money but it’s $35 from them and only $22 from Amazon (and free shipping). My respect for the independent sellers isn’t worth $13.

  8. George B says:

    My step father worked at Dover AFB, Delaware and would tell us after the astronauts would leave.  He couldn’t tell us before they came or while they were here, he said it was classified, but would tell us when they left that they had been in the area getting fitted for their space suits.  The suits were made in the Dover, Delaware area, I believe it was in Frederica, DE where they were made.

    • Ito Kagehisa says:

      Frederica, yes.  ILC (uhm, I think International Latex Corporation originally) is headquartered in Delaware and has a shop in Houston, too, near the Johnson Spaceflight Center.

      Nowadays the astronauts only have to be custom-fitted for gloves, the rest of the suit is assembled from standardized parts.  The suits are amazing – articulated steel and miles of wire and tubing underneath those bland white exteriors.

  9. ornith says:

    Wow, speaking as a seamstress, 1/64″ tolerance with no pins is really impressive.

    I wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid. Now I want to be a fashion designer… clearly, my ultimate dream job must be making space suits!

    T.J., I totally want to hear more about this as well, please! I’m ekbond on gmail.

  10. Antinous / Moderator says:

    1/64″ tolerance with no pins is really impressive.

    They’re clearly not making those suits out of velvet.

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