Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The stitchers behind the first moon landing

We knew about the women who wrote software (Margaret Hamilton) and calculated flight paths and landings (as seen in the 2016 movie Hidden Figures, and here we learn about the stitchers who worked on the 1969 moon landing:

' ... back in places where the TV cameras didn't always go, a small army of women was working just as hard at jobs that were just as important ... What NASA needed was something more flexible, and they found out that no one knew flexible like the people who made Playtex girdles and bras...'
  • On video: The Seamstress Behind Apollo 11’s Spacesuits
    Talk about threading the needle in more ways than one. If it wasn’t for Jo Thompson, the first manned mission to land on the moon could have ended in disaster. She was part of a team of elite seamstresses employed by ILC Dover—a company famous for making Playtex bras—to sew spacesuits for Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. The job was technical, and the pressure was intense. Precision was literally a matter of life and death⁠—one errant needle hole, even a tiny prick, would have compromised the spacesuits. To this day, Thompson is proud of her role in the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing. We join her at her Delaware home to talk sewing and space exploration.
Apollo 11 Crew 1969, NASA: Creative Commons

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