7
$\begingroup$

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?

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ 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. Aug 24 '13 at 18:24
5
$\begingroup$

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.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.