“Suited for Space,” a DuPont-Sponsored Exhibition on Extended Tour

The DuPont-sponsored “Suited for Space” Smithsonian exhibition, which showcases innovations that protect lives, is on a five-year tour.

DuPont is the national sponsor of “Suited for Space,” an exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The exhibition, which began a five-year U.S. tour in 2011, tells the story of innovations, technical achievements, and challenges in the development of protective garments that have allowed astronauts to live and work in space.

An amazing fact, and a deep aerospace safety commitment:

Did you know that twenty of the 21 layers of the Apollo moon suits either contained or were made entirely of science-based innovations developed by DuPont?  The photo below shows Alan Shepard’s 1971 Apollo 14 A7-L extra-vehicular spacesuit.

Over 500 million people in more than 40 countries on five continents watched as Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon for the first time. When Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked out into the moon’s sunlight, the day’s temperature could reach 253°F (123°C). At night, outside the lunar module, the moon’s temperature dropped to minus 387°F (minus 233°C).

Our deep commitment to safety in space exploration:

DuPont was the only company at the time with a broad portfolio of materials that could perform in these extreme conditions. The motivation to develop these materials was to protect lives here on earth. As with applications on earth, DuPont did not just provide the materials; we provided the knowledge on how to use them.

Products featured in the exhibition:

From the introduction of nylon to the development and commercialization of products like DuPont™ Nomex® and Kevlar® fibers, “Suited for Space” celebrates the thousands of scientists in industry, academia, and government whose collaborative efforts led to the manufacture of the materials needed to develop and design our spacesuits.

DuPont invention and innovation for space exploration: many protective materials.

Our company continues to produce and innovate on some of the world’s best-known product brands today, including:

•    DuPont™ Kevlar® fibers, used to provide strength and flexibility in spacesuits, are used in bullet-resistant body armor to protect law enforcement officers, first responders, and the military. DuPont also has introduced a new technology platform, Kevlar® XP™, which provides lighter-weight protection for body armor, and for hard armor in helmets and vehicles.
•    DuPont™ Nomex® fibers, used as strong protective layers in spacesuits, are used in garments to protect firefighters, soldiers, and racecar drivers. Last year, DuPont introduced the first “smart” fiber that protects lives — Nomex® On Demand™ — which acts, when needed, to provide 20% more thermal protection.
•    DuPont™ Kapton® polyimide film, used in two layers of the Apollo suits because of its durability and thermal stability, is a critical material for high reliability in the electronics industry.

Apollo 14 Spacesuit

Photograph by Mark Avino/ Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

•    DuPont™ Krytox® performance lubricants, first used by NASA for the Apollo space flights, in the traction motors on the lunar rover, and as a lubricant for spacesuits, work at both low- and high-temperature extremes to protect everything from computer chip manufacture to industrial and automotive applications to the latest civilian and military aircraft.

•    Mylar® polyester film, used in several layers of Apollo spacesuits because of its toughness and flexibility, is used in diverse applications for the electrical, electronics, industrial specialty, imaging and graphics, and packaging markets.

Additional DuPont information about space apparel and the exhibition:

View What on Earth Do You Wear on the Moon?,  a fact sheet about DuPont products in spacesuits. Or find the dates and locations of the Suited for Space touring exhibition sponsored by DuPont.