NASA Apollo Era Jacket

Discussion in 'Nylon' started by oose, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. oose

    oose Member

    Messages:
    795
    Location:
    London
    Hi All,

    I was recently lucky enough to pick up a Apollo Era NASA Flight Jacket, the same as the one now being produced by Alexander Leather. Thanks to all those who made this possible especially Jim (watchmanjimg). Here are my thoughts on the subject, please add any addition information and photographs you have.

    The NASA flight jacket of the Apollo era were produced in a number of different configurations during its shot life. The first of these was probably by Land Mfg. Co. of Wichita Kansas, they had supplied flight suits and jackets previous to NASA Apollo program albeit in a different configuration. These jackets seemed to be first issued around November 1968 as this is the first time I've come across them in NASA comprehensive photo archive. I suspect that these jackets were issued at the Houston Manned Space Center (MSC).


    TYPE 1


    On the surface the design resembles the USAF L-2b jackets, but in reality they are very different. In its first incarnation the NASA jackets are made from a light blue cotton material with a orange lining they are fully reversible, with the same configuration of pockets on the inside as on the outside. The arm zipper tape having being fixed like the military L-2b and being dark blue in color. The jacket has silver snaps and was the most numerous jacket worn by the early Apollo astronauts.
    [​IMG]


    TYPE 2

    The second type commonly seen is similar in being made of the same materials and by Land Mfg. Co. of Wichita Kansas. It is also orange lined but it is not fully revisable, only for emergencies. The arm zipper is also different and is hidden the same configuration as the NASA flight suits. These jackets are seen from 1969 onwards so I think represent the second order from Land Mfg. Co.
    [​IMG]


    TYPE 3

    The third type, I've only two photographed jackets. It is similar to the second type but this version has a white lining, I don't know it this jackets is fully revisable or not. Its is seen from 1970 onwards.
    [​IMG]


    TYPE 4

    This is the Mustard colored jacket made by Kings Point Mfg. The color change also coincides with a change of material, due to the new material not being able to be dyed. This jacket is issued from 1971, mainly used by the Apollo 17 crew, but other late crews were issued them at some time. It has a white lining, not fully revisable and has a distinctive squared off flap.
    [​IMG]

    All the best
    Stu
     
  2. havocpaul

    havocpaul Active Member

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    1,691
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    Very nice! Have always liked this period, these astronauts were obvious heroes for those of us that grew up watching and following the Apollo missions. I once owned an 'orange' example although I think it might have been private purchase as had no label. It had the NASA patch and leather name tag for Bill Lenoir who flew one of the earlier Shuttle missions and had trained with NASA for some time. I found it for sale in the basement of Kensington Market here in London in around 1983/4 when there was the two guys (Pete and Pierre?) who had a stall that sold mainly vintage denim, jackets and flight jackets and US Police leather jackets. It cost me £45 and I kept it until the kids came along and money was tight, made a good profit and it went to a collector in the States, of course regret selling it now! I think I had a photo somewhere if I can find it.
    UPDATE: Just found it on my old Flickr photo stream, not great pic, sorry but gives you an idea....
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/havocpaul ... /lightbox/
    p.s. Would be good if someone could make the orange version as a repro too.
     
  3. Rutger

    Rutger Active Member

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    That's a cool presentation Stu, very good! Almost makes me want to add a repro to what I already have, but extending the range to astronaut jackets just won't happen.
    I'm curious if the choice of cloth over nylon could have to do with the flamability of nylon jackets, but I think the answer to that will remain hidden in history.
    Paul, I can't see the picture 'cause it's asking me to log in, maybe you can post it?
     
  4. havocpaul

    havocpaul Active Member

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    Not sure how to place it as using my I-Pad...thought it would open from Flickr, sorry.
     
  5. dujardin

    dujardin Well-Known Member

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    thanks for this intersting review and congrats for your catch

    great to see this friends(member)ship between us
     
  6. oose

    oose Member

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    795
    Location:
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    Hi all,
    Here is Paul's photo, I'll be posting shots of mine when it arrives this week.
    [​IMG]
    All the best
    Stu
     
  7. oose

    oose Member

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    795
    Location:
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    Hi, I believe that Paul's jacket comes more from the late 70's early 80's when NASA was still using a golden colour, They also used this distinctive jacket with the white zipper tape.
    [​IMG]

    All the best
    Stu
     
  8. havocpaul

    havocpaul Active Member

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    Location:
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    Quite possibly a later jacket as it has different cut and no L-2b style overlap at the base. Bill Lenoir joined NASA in 1967 and was back up science-pilot on both Skylab 3 and 4, he flew on the STL-5 mission in late 1982 although there was no indication on the jacket of what period it had been issued, the leather name tag had the astronaut wings and his name only. I do like the mustard colour in particular.
     
  9. Peter Graham

    Peter Graham Well-Known Member

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    Great photo essay Stu. A recurring theme with the NASA jackets is that they are all a slightly odd colour, especially the later ones.
     
  10. mbaquerizo

    mbaquerizo New Member

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    3
    thank you kindly for this series of photographs. quite a few goodies here.
     
  11. Jason

    Jason Member

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    719
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    Tasmania, Australia
    Fantastic work, the best reference work I've ever seen for NASA issued jackets - thank you!
     
  12. RudyN

    RudyN Member

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    141
    Location:
    San Jose, California
    Thanks for posting the pictures of the jackets. It is nice to see the various types they had. I happened to be at Kennedy space center last week and that place is something else. I almost picked up one of their repros, but didn't have room in my suitcase as we were also going on a cruise later, maybe next time.
     
  13. oose

    oose Member

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    795
    Location:
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    Update! Jacket used post Apollo made by Flite Gear by Port Echo / Mt. Sinai, N.Y. another company I've never heard of and can find no info on!

    [​IMG]
    image post
    [​IMG]
    image upload no size limit

    Photo's of my jacket will come asap when my camera is fixed!
    All the best
    Stu
     
  14. herk115

    herk115 Member

    Messages:
    228
    Stu,

    The Type 3 jacket you see McMurtrey wearing in all likelihood came from Bowler's Shirt and Uniform (long gone) in Los Angeles. They had a brief contract to make light blue Nomex suits and jackets for the NASA Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB, ca. 1970 or so. The Nomex they used was not very colorfast in sunlight, and their workmanship questionable, so FRC didn't order many of them (this was related to me in the early 90s by a man named Rick Borsch, who ran the life support shop at NASA-Dryden). I don't know about the jacket Dave Scott is wearing. According to Bill Pogue, until the switch to the mustard color, the light blue garments worn by the Houston folks were cotton poplin, not Nomex. Again, according to Bill Pogue, the switch to the mustard was done in response to the Apollo 1 fire, as NASA decided fireproof garments were as desirable in a T-38 as in an Apollo spacecraft, and at the time, mustard was the only color this fabric was available in. Nomex was being produced before the Apollo 1 fire, but according the the manager at Gibson & Barnes when I spoke with him back in the 80s, this was a type of Nomex called "Durette," which offered better fire protection in high-oxygen environments. The green and tan Nomex jackets worn by the USAF today are actually Durette, I'm told. Moving down to the group photos of the 747 crews, note that Vic Horton, second from left, is wearing a flight suit of different material and workmanship. The other three guys are wearing both Durette suits and jackets. Again, according to G&B, Durette is identifiable by its nylon-like shininess.

    While we're on the subject, I believe I can have Gibson and Barnes make me their classic flight jacket, which I can then modify without too much trouble or expense into an acceptable Apollo-era lookalike. Would any of you guys know the U.S. Federal Standard number for the color of those jackets? Might help me track down a good lookalike fabric. I've got one of the Flite Wear flight suits and can to the same for the light blue, without having to spend the megabucks Al Worden is asking for one of his knockoffs
     
  15. asiamiles

    asiamiles Active Member

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    2,003
  16. oose

    oose Member

    Messages:
    795
    Location:
    London
    Hi All,
    Just realized that I had not posted any photos of the jacket I picked up, so here it is...
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    All the best
    Stu
     
  17. CBI

    CBI Well-Known Member

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    3,320
    Great post. Love the early ones. Nice to see Alexander Leathers making one. Maybe they can custom one that ditches the NASA patch and nametag. There is something very "Trekkie" about the Alexander website pics.
     
  18. herk115

    herk115 Member

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    228

    Did I miss something? I went to the Alexander Leathers website and didn't see anything NASA.
     
  19. oose

    oose Member

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    795
    Location:
    London
  20. Willy McCoy

    Willy McCoy Member

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    Location:
    Seatown "Hustler" Washington
    Very nice pick up Stu. Is the jacket 100% reversible right down to the sleeve pocket? Naturally the zipper box and slide pull would be reversed asymmetrically if it was.
     

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