On July 12, 1969, only 21 layers of fabric, most gossamer-thin, stood between Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and the lethal desolation of a lunar vacuum. Author Nicholas de Monchaux explores the history of how the spacesuit came to be.
The story of the Apollo spacesuit is the surprising tale of an unexpected victory: that of Playtex, maker of bras and girdles, over the large military-industrial contractors better positioned to secure the spacesuit contract. This book tells the story of this victory, and analyzes both the Playtex suit — a 21-layer, complex assemblage — and its ‘hard’ competitors. It is the clean lines of the latter that have traditionally captured designers’ imaginations: one noted critic described the AX-3 ‘hard’ suit as ‘the most beautiful thing I have ever seen’.