Neil Armstrong's A5L Apollo spacesuit. Mulitiple suit connection openings, velcro and button snap attachments, arm and leg pockets, NASA emblem on the front left side, and an interior label that reads: ''Item Training I/TMG, Size A5L-009, ARMSTRONG, Contract No. NAS9-10568, R & D Design Corporation''.
Neil Armstrong's A5L Apollo spacesuit. Mulitiple suit connection openings, velcro and button snap attachments, arm and leg pockets, NASA emblem on the front left side, and an interior label that reads: "Item Training I/TMG, Size A5L-009, ARMSTRONG, Contract No. NAS9-10568, R & D Design Corporation".
A SPACESUIT FITTED FOR NEIL ARMSTRONG, THE FIRST MAN TO WALK ON THE MOON ONE OF ONLY 14 AFL SUITS MADE
Armstrong was commander of the first manned docking mission, Gemini 8, in March 1966. After Gemini, Armstrong performed training assignments for Apollo and was selected as the back-up commander for the Apollo 8 mission. That selection allowed his rotation to commander of the Apollo 11 where he and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to land on the Moon.
The Apollo spacesuit evolved over a period spanning nearly a decade. There were several versions developed by industry contractors responding to NASA's need for a spacesuit that would allow a man to survive and do productive work on the lunar surface. Various problems arose with early Apollo development suits resulting in a re-competition of the Apollo spacesuit contract in 1965. International Latex Corporation (ILC) won the recompetition with their model AX5L. The "A" stood for the Apollo suit, X for experimental, and "5L" being the fifth Apollo suit designed by ILC. Following the contract award for the final suit development phase, ILC produced 14 Pressure Garment Assemblies [PGA] designated A5L with the R&D Design Corporation having the contract to make the A5L Integrated Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment [I/TMG]. These suits were used for astronaut training and spacecraft checkout. The A5L suits provided valuable information on suit mobility which went into developing the final flight version eventually known as the A7L.
Apollo spacesuits essentially were two suits. An inner suit, known as a Pressure Garment Assembly (PGA), was an air tight assembly that would retain oxygen for the astronaut to breathe. The outer cover, known as an Integrated Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment, or I/TMG, was designed to protect the astronaut from temperature extremes and hyperveolicty micrometeoroid punctures while outside the spacecraft during space walks or on the lunar surface. The I/TMG provided this protection by using multiple layers of specially developed fabrics.
The A5L suit I/TMG consists of the following layers (arranged from the outside to the inside), an outer layer of high temperature resistant nylon (HT-1) as a protective layer, several alternating layers of insulation for thermal protection, followed by one layer of neoprene coated nylon ripstop for micrometeroid impact shock absorption.
Lessons learned from the investigation of the tragic Apollo 1 fire in January 1967 resulted in changes to the Apollo spacesuit. Modifications to the I/TMG changed its outer surface layers to fire resistant Teflon and Beta glass cloth, and to a non-removable one-piece covering of the PGA. However, since Beta cloth was not very abrasion resistant, the I/TMGs for the training suits were made using the HT-1 temperature resistant nylon. For training use, the A5L suits were fitted with the one-piece I/TMG coverlayer.
The Armstrong A5L suit has openings in the front for two dual oxygen inlet and outlet hoses, one electrical connection, and one water connection for spacesuit cooling.
A policy established in the early years of the space program has given the Smithsonian first refusal on all flown items in general and space suits in particular, which further adds to the rarity. Material related to Armstrong of any kind is scarce as he participated only in two missions, Gemini 8 and Apollo 11. EXCEEDINGLY RARE, PERHAPS THE ONLY ARMSTRONG SUIT EVER AVAILABLE IN PRIVATE HANDS.