We’ve seen many imaginative interpretations of “space age” fashion in the movies. And while we still have yet to see any astronauts running around in clothing reminiscent of The Jetsons, researchers are beginning trial testing on a textile developed specifically for space travel.
The fabric, aptly named Spacetex, will be the first to be brought to the International Space Station, and put to the test in a weightless environment.
While all performance fabrics must adapt to specific climates and actions, fabric for space travel is in a league of its own. A lack of gravity affects clothing more than you think!
For example, even when a garment is worn close to the skin, body heat and sweat travel differently. The fabric must be specifically engineered with this in mind to make sure that the body can properly cool itself down.
An additional problem that scientists hope to solve with this textile is the breakdown of bone and muscle tissue. When astronauts are in space, and subsequently, a weightless environment, for an extended period of time, the lack of physical exertion can quickly cause the muscles to begin to atrophy.
While astronauts use training equipment to avoid this, the activities can cause too much strain on the body. Incorporating textiles engineered for zero gravity could help to minimize the need for such exertion.
If you’re grounded here on earth, don’t worry- the developers of Spacetex hope to put it to use on our planet as well. The performance fabric was developed for use in the extreme conditions of space- but there are plenty of extreme climates on the ground that Spacetex could be adapted for.
As the Spacetex research continues, the project partners will be updating the project’s progress. It can be seen at www.spacetex-project.com.