When Neil Armstrong stepped out onto the moon on July 20, 1969, all that was standing between him and the vacuum of space that would kill him immediately was his spacesuit. The A7L, as Letters of Note notes, had to "provide, amongst other things, the following: a safe internal pressure; breathable oxygen; a regulated temperature; shielding from radiation; protection from micrometeorites, and a communications system. In addition, the suit's eleven layers needed to provide ample levels of comfort and mobility so as to make it usable."
It did all that and for that, Neil Armstrong was thankful. He penned a note to the team that designed the A7L, sending it in 1994, 25 years after the monumental moment.
Read it after the jump.
NEIL A. ARMSTRONG
P.O. BOX 436
LEBANON, OH 45036
July 14, 1994
The EMU gang at
Johnson Space Center
Houston, TX 77058
To the EMU gang:
I remember noting a quarter century or so ago that an emu was a 6 foot Australian flightless bird. I thought that got most of it right.
It turned out to be one of the most widely photographed spacecraft in history. That was no doubt due to the fact that it was so photogenic. Equally responsible for its success was its characteristic of hiding from view its ugly occupant.
Its true beauty, however, was that it worked. It was tough, reliable and almost cuddly.
To all of you who made it all that it was, I send a quarter century's worth of thanks and congratulations.
Neil A. Armstrong