Aug. 1, 2019
Toray Fluorofibers (America), Inc. (TFA)
The Layers of History: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing
Fifty years ago, on July 20, 1969, humanity made a giant leap forward. As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin—two of the three astronauts on the Apollo 11 mission that fateful day—walked on the surface of the moon for the first time in mankind’s history, they were protected from the extreme conditions of space by only their spacesuits. Those suits were a technological marvel, an astounding piece of material that gave the astronauts flexibility to do their jobs while also keeping them alive. A miracle? Not exactly—this was science and technology coming together in the best possible way. And many of those wonderful developments still live on today at Toray Fluorofibers (America), Inc. (TFA).
The astronauts’ suits had to be tough, durable, adaptable and more resilient than almost any garment ever made. And they were: 21 layers went into the shielding that the astronauts wore on this mission. Of those, 20 layers were manufactured by DuPont, whose fluorofiber technologies are today manufactured by TFA. The outermost layer was made of Teflon™ PTFE fibers, which can endure some of the most extreme and challenging environments known to man, including space. Teflon™ PTFE also has low friction, which makes it even more useful in space. NASA used Teflon™ PTFE not just for the suits—it also was useful for heat shields and in cargo hold liners.
We at TFA are so humbled and proud to reflect on this now and to carry on the charge of discovery, development and exploration that the Apollo mission signifies in human history. This one small step continues to inspire us all!
Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag. (Courtesy of NASA)
The official crew portrait of the Apollo 11 astronauts. Pictured from left are: Neil A. Armstrong, Commander; Michael Collins, Module Pilot; Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Lunar Module Pilot. Apollo 11 was the first manned lunar landing mission that placed the first humans on the surface of the moon and returned them back to Earth. (Courtesy of NASA)
*Teflon™ is a trademark of The Chemours Company FC, LLC used under license by Toray Fluorofibers (America), Inc.