While Americans sat in the glow of their TV sets only dreaming of going where no man has gone before, on July 16, 1969, they watched Michael Collins, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and Neil Armstrong take to the skies. Enjoy an intergalactic blast from the past in honor of the 40th anniversary of man's first moon-walk. Spacesuits: Within the Collections of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum provides an in-depth look into the development of the garb outfitting the crews leading up to the lunar missions and thereafter.

NASA began planning for the Apollo missions by the time the first manned Gemini missions launched in 1965. After much testing, the first manned Apollo mission took place in October 1968, and the moon-landing occurred in 1969. Seen here is the sixth and final moon-landing, as Astronaut Harrison "Jack" Schmitt stands beside the American flag, Apollo 17, 1972. Courtesy of NASA.

RIGHT: SPD-143--Apollo Developmental AX1-L, ILC Industries, 1963.
LEFT: A4-H- Apollo Developmental, ILC for Hamilton Standard, 1964.

The Mark V Suit was the last of the Mark series and had additional space for the wearer's movement. During the early spacesuit developmental years of Apollo, the Mark V model was modified in the shoulder, and was a concept of constant potential energy, later applied to spacesuit design--the joint known as "equal potential joint". B.F. Goodrich, 1968.

The Mercury program was the first of the United States' manned space programs, whose primary goal was to place a spacecraft into an orbital trajectory. The first group sent into space included Alan Shephard and six other astronauts who quickly gained celebrity status. This troupe was sent into space bearing the superhero name Mercury 7, and sporting shiny silver suits. Courtesy of NASA.

RIGHT: As scientists began developing "soft" suits for the Apollo missions, they began realizing that they may need another alternative in extended zero-gravity conditions. Constant volume suits consisting of stovepipe joints, rotational bearings, and toroidal joints went into development. Seen here is a radiograph image of the EX1-A prototype.
LEFT: Spacesuit worn by Astronaut Alan Shephard on first manned space orbit. Mercury--Shephard, Freedom 7, B.F. Goodrich, 1960.

Astronauts demonstrating the joint capabilities of Constant Volume Space (CVS) suits. Litton Industries, 1968, Courtesy of NASA.

Astronauts demonstrating the mobility of EX1-A suits in preparation of the Apollo missions. AiResearch Corporation, 1969 Courtesy of NASA.

Developmental helmets used in creating the Apollo spacesuits, one in which allowed the astronaut more ease in head movement. This was also the first time the bubble helmet was used.
TOP ROW: (L/R) A7-L Helmet--Apollo Pressure Bubble, Training ILC Industries, 1968; A6-L Helmet--Apollo Pressure Bubble, Developmental/Training. ILC Industries, 1967; A7-LB Helmet--Apollo Pressure Bubble, Worden, Apollo 15 ILC Industries, 1970.
BOTTOM ROW: (L/R) SPD-143 Helmet--Apollo Developmental. ILC Industries, 1963; A4-H Helmet--"Universal", Hamilton Standard, 1964; Phase I Helmet--Apollo Developmental, David Clark Company, 1967.

Astronaut Ed White during first U.S. spacewalk, Gemini 4, 1965. Courtesy of NASA.

How to Dress Like an Astronaut

On July 16, 1969, Americans watched on their TVs as Michael Collins, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and Neil Armstrong took to the skies. "Spacesuits: Within the Collections of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum" provides an in-depth look into the development of the garb outfitting the crews of the lunar missions.

While Americans sat in the glow of their TV sets only dreaming of going where no man has gone before, on July 16, 1969, they watched Michael Collins, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and Neil Armstrong take to the skies. Enjoy an intergalactic blast from the past in honor of the 40th anniversary of man's first moon-walk. Spacesuits: Within the Collections of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum provides an in-depth look into the development of the garb outfitting the crews leading up to the lunar missions and thereafter.

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