Protective Clothing for Space Shuttle: Manufacturing Process, Materials and Advantages

A Details Discussion On Space Shuttle Protective Clothing

What is Protective Clothing?

The textiles or apparel, used for protection of the human body or life during working in any risky conditions is termed as protective clothing or special garments.

How to Make Protective Clothing for Space Shuttle?

NASA (National aeronautic space authority) has prescribed clothing of special characteristics for the outer space shuttle traveler to protect the space travelers from the harmful environment in outer space. For this protective clothing, cotton fabric has been considered the best due to its comfort-ability, electrical resistivity, and skin sensitivity.
Space shuttle protective clothing
Fig: Space shuttle protective clothing
For the manufacturing of such protective clothing chemically treated cotton fabrics are used. Two-ply fabrics are used for the clothing. The chemically treated cotton fabric plies are 153 grams per square yard weft sateen, 244grams per square yard satin, and 187 grams per square yard mercerized knitted single jersey fabrics. These fabrics are flame retardant finished with DAP or Urea and THPOH/NH3 in two steps. As a result, this kind of clothing shows better burning retardancy and flame retardancy property, which is approved by NASA (National aeronautic space authority).

A Blanket made for the outer space traveler is made of two-ply fabric made from glass fiber and in between the two-ply fabric, fibrous silica is used. Besides those, as heat-resistant clothing, needle felt Nomex fiber; graphite fiber, and ceramic fiber is a woven fabric, silicon rubber-coated fabrics are also used.

At the time of launching the space shuttle, to dissipate the surface temperature of the space shuttle, a water-filled bag made of ripstop nylon fabric is used on its surface. These kinds of water bags are manufactured by the Makrum Company. A special type of protective textiles or clothing has been made for the outer space shuttle traveler. The clothing is made of tubular woven fabric, woven in X-2 Draper shuttle loom with the continuous polyester filament, then coated and molded to the required design and shape of the clothing.

Materials Used in Space Shuttle Protective Clothing:

Different types of materials used in space shuttle protective textiles are listed below:

  1. Spandex
  2. Urethane-coated nylon,
  3. Nylon tricot,
  4. Mylar,
  5. Nomex,
  6. Gortex,
  7. Dacron,
  8. Kevlar (material in bullet-proof vests),
  9. Neoprene-coated nylon.
Advantages of Space Shuttle Protective Clothing:

Key advantages of space shuttle protective textiles are presented in the following:

  1. Spacesuits have multiple layers of durable fabrics such as Dacron or Kevlar to protect the astronauts from shock with micrometeoroids.
  2. Most of the spacesuits provide a pure oxygen atmosphere for breathing.
  3. To keep the fluids in the body, the spacesuit provides air pressure.
  4. To remove carbon dioxide space suits use lithium hydroxide canisters.
  5. To help the astronauts bend their hands, arms, legs, knees, and ankles space suits are equipped with special joints or tapers in the fabric.

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