New Smithsonian Exhibition Explores How Materials Helped Put Man On The Moon

WILMINGTON, Del. — April 6, 2011 — “Suited for Space,” a new Smithsonian traveling exhibition
sponsored by DuPont, celebrates the innovation and critical role that materials have played in
space exploration. Products developed by DuPont, such as Nomex®, Kevlar®, Neoprene® and Kapton® are
just some of the materials that have helped Americans travel to the moon and explore beyond.

To commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s Man on the Moon
Address to Congress, this week “Suited for Space” will begin a five-year U.S. tour at the Museum of
Science and Industry in Chicago. The exhibition, created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling
Exhibition Service (SITES) and the National Air and Space Museum, chronicles the history of space
suits and highlights how they made space flight possible. “Suited for Space” tells the story of
innovations, technical achievements and challenges in the development of protective garments that
have allowed astronauts to live and work in space for decades.

“DuPont is proud to partner with the Smithsonian, and salutes the Chicago Museum of Science
and Industry as the first stop for this important national exhibition,” said DuPont Executive Vice
President Mark P. Vergnano. “For over 200 years, DuPont scientists and engineers have pioneered
materials for out-of-this-world missions and down-to-earth applications for protection — pushing
boundaries and making the impossible possible. This exhibit showcases the unprecedented collective
efforts of hundreds of companies and agencies to protect lives in space — the net effect of which
could only have been achieved when innovative science and collaboration were put to the service of
an important goal.”

Twenty of the 21 layers of the Apollo moon suits either contained or were made entirely of
science-based innovations invented by DuPont, such as:

  • The spacesuits for the early Earth and lunar orbit missions of the Apollo program used nylon,
    invented by DuPont as a major component.   
  • The first U.S. flag on the moon was also made of nylon.
  • Today’s astronauts wear suits made with DuPont™ Nomex® and DuPont™ Kevlar® fibers.
  • Back on Earth, Nomex® is used to protect garments for firefighters and first responders, while
    Kevlar® is the leading brand in ballistic protection for law enforcement and the military.

DuPont™ Kapton® polyimide film, DuPont™ Krytox® performance lubricants, DuPont™ Teflon®
fluoropolymer and Mylar® polyester film are just a few of the products that were used in the
original space suits. These materials continue to be used today in space and on Earth, and DuPont
continues to support new innovations in space. Most recently, a NASA team tested a new space suit,
the NDX-1, in a setting with extreme conditions similar to some of those found on Mars. The
prototype suit is made out of more than 350 materials, including tough honeycomb Kevlar® and carbon

Posted on April 12, 2011

Source: DuPont