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The Apollo space capsules had a ton of velocity changes - from liftoff, to separations, to reentry to splashdown, there were a lot of sporadic movements.

The capsules also needed to carry things that would be used in space. How were these things kept in place? Velcro was only a few decades old when the program started. Was Velcro used? Straps?

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  • $\begingroup$ NASA's ubiquitous use of Velcro is what made it popular (and gave origin to the myth that it was NASA that invented it.) $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 18:24

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I'll borrow heavily from a September 1973 Apollo Experience report called "Crew Station Integration: Vol.IV - Stowage and the support team concept" by Marion W. Hix from Houston.

  • Use of Velcro started during Mercury missions
  • Gemini program introduced modular containers with molded foam holders for particular items
  • Duct tape was used since Gemini missions
  • Modular containers were fixed in place by pip pins or Calfax fasteners

  • Anything not in containers could be held in place by Velcro (#1), metal snaps (#2), utility straps, and bungee cords

  • After Apollo 1 fire, nylon-based Velcro was banned, and its successor found to be less efficient
  • Utility straps (12 inches long - 30.4 cm) were used as a makeshift restraint where Velcro was unavailable
  • Bungee cords were suggested by Apollo 10 crew (Cernan, Stafford, Young) and implemented from Apollo 11 onwards

Source: http://history.nasa.gov/alsj/WOTM/WOTM-Velcro.html

  • Velcro had its share of problems - fouling up by dust (3 times), tiny hooks floating in the air in the Apollo 11 Command Module and irritating Collins, Velcro patch failures a total of nine times in space and in lunar EVAs.

One of the more innovative uses of Velcro included putting a patch into EVA suits to assist in scratching the astronaut's nose.

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