DuPont’s scientific innovations have changed the world we live in, but the company’s reach extends even beyond the far edges of the Earth.
“I believe we couldn’t have gone to the moon without DuPont materials,” said DuPont Protection Technologies Fellow Warren Knoff. “At the time, DuPont was the only company with the advanced products available to meet NASA’s needs. We have continued to provide many of those products, and new ones as well, since then. Safety in space has always been a top priority, and I believe that’s where we have made our biggest impact.”
For the Apollo 11 mission to the moon in 1969, 20 of the 21 layers in each space suit were made with DuPont inventions, including DuPont™ Nomex® fiber, Teflon® fluoropolymer, Kapton® polyimide film, Mylar® polyester film, Lycra® spandex, neoprene and nylon. The first U.S. flag on the moon also was made of nylon.
Today’s astronauts wear suits made with DuPont™ Nomex® and DuPont™ Kevlar® fibers. Here on Earth, Nomex® is also used to protect garments for firefighters and first responders, and Kevlar® is the leading brand in ballistic protection for law enforcement and the military.
These products are part of the “Suited for Space” exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition (SITES) and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, which explores the evolution of spacesuit development from the first quarter of the 20th century until the dawn of the shuttle era. DuPont supports the exhibit, which premiered at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago in April 2011 and continues a national tour through 2015.