This suit represents the model A7L worn by U.S. Air Force Col. (later Maj. Gen.) Michael Collins in July 1969 on Apollo 11, the first moon landing mission. Collins’ suit was not made for moonwalking, but instead was designed to be worn mainly inside the spacecraft. He piloted the orbiting command module while his fellow astronauts explored the lunar surface.
Apollo space suits were made for the moon landings and other flights of the 1960s–1970s. Suits came in several configurations depending on whether the crewman was going to walk on the moon, stay in the spacecraft, or perform spacewalks.
Each suit was custom-tailored, and every suit required 64 different body measurements and several fittings. Plaster casts of crewmen’s hands served as glove molds, dipped many times in a neoprene-rubber mix to make perfectly-fitting gloves with built-in knuckles that made bending easier.
The suits used many specialized materials. The most visible is the outer white Teflon-coated woven fiberglass fabric called Super Beta Cloth. The helmet was made of polycarbonate, which is much stronger than most plastics. Astronauts entered the suit through a long vertical zipper in the back.
This suit is a reproduction and is on display in the museum's fourth building.
(Video) Space Suits Lecture from museum historian Dr. Doug Lantry
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