The Apollo 11 Moon landing was one of the single greatest achievements in the history of humankind. On July 20, 1969 astronaut Neil Armstrong emerged from the Eagle, descended its ladder, and became the first person to step on the Moon. His spacesuit was a key part of that achievement.

About the Suit

The Apollo lunar spacesuits (A-7L), were designed to provide a life sustaining environment for the astronaut during periods of extravehicular activity or during unpressurized spacecraft operation. The suits are made of a white, non-flammable material called beta cloth, a Teflon-coated fiberglass. They permitted maximum mobility and were designed to be worn with relative comfort for up to 115 hours in conjunction with the liquid cooling garment. If necessary, they were also capable of being worn for 14 days in an unpressurized mode.

View Armstrong's spacesuit record
The three spacesuits worn by the Apollo 11 astronauts on their historic mission to the Moon. Left to right, are the suits of Edwin E. Aldrin, Michael Collins and Neil A. Armstrong.

The astronauts wore gloves and helmets, which were securely connected to the suits where the red metal rings on the suit are.

The astronauts' overshoes (worn only on the Moon) and portable life-support systems were left on the lunar surface to reduce launch weight.

These suits were individually tailored for the astronauts and were manufactured by ILC Industries, Inc. An astronaut got into the suit through a rear pressure-sealing zipper that ran from the upper back through the crotch. 

200 pounds

is how much this type of suit weighted on Earth with the fully pressurized O2 PLSS (primary life support system) and OPS (oxygen purge system) supply attached. 

Without these attachments, the suit alone weighed 76 pounds on Earth. 

30 pounds

is how much the suit with the PLSS attached weighed on the lunar surface with reduced gravity. 

25 layers

of protective materials make up the suit. 

-250°F to +230°F

is the range of temperatures the suit protects against. 

About the Material

Many textiles used in space suits were invented prior to the space program. The DuPont Company developed neoprene synthetic rubber in 1932, almost thirty years before the first manned spaceflight. Nylon and Teflon were invented in 1938. Following World War II, DuPont introduced Mylar, in 1959, Lycra spandex fiber, and in 1963, Nomex. All of these materials were used in the Apollo space suit.

Following the tragic Apollo 1 fire, researchers sought materials more resistant to very high temperatures. In 1962, the Dow-Corning Company produced Beta silica fiber, a material like fiberglass, except that it would not irritate the skin of the wearer. For the outer covering of the Apollo space suit, Beta silica fiber was coated with Teflon to create Beta Cloth.

An EMU repair kit. 

Apollo 11 astronauts carried this maintenance kit to make minor repairs to their spacesuits. It contains cloth tape, exterior patches, sealant bladder repair material, optical surface cleaning and defogging pads, and replacement gaskets. 

View kit's object record

During the summer of 2015, the National Air and Space Museum embarked on its first Kickstarter campaign to help the Museum conserve, digitize, and display Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing in 2019. A community of backers around the world came together and within days the project was funded.


Armstrong's spacesuit was made for the very specific purpose of preserving human life in the harsh conditions of space and the surface of the Moon. The spacesuit was constructed from a combination of 12 synthetic materials with as many as 21 layers. These materials have a half-life of approximately 50 years and have begun the inevitable process of degrading. These factors make conserving this spacesuit both complex and interesting. See all the latest conservation news from this project. 

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