Velcro® brand Fasteners and NASA
Velcro® Brand fasteners have been a commonplace fastening solution since the 1980s, but the invention of Velcro® Brand dates back to the 50s, and it is credited with holding together everything from toupees to Space Shuttles.
NASA tool belt.It’s no surprise that NASA is commonly and incorrectly associated with the hook and loop fastener’s invention. VELCRO® Brand and NASA have had a long history that is often intertwined. The fastener is used in various ways in outer space. Consider a day in the life of the astronaut in zero gravity. Anything not held in place is free to move about, prompting the need for a convenient fastener that can be handled easily, even in a spacesuit. Equally important is the fact that the fastener won’t get in the way of regular operations when it’s not in use.
Keeping things clean is an important part of successful NASA missions. The astronaut hygiene kit used on the Space shuttle Columbia flight in 1981 featured a hook and loop strap system to hold toothpaste, toothbrushes and other personal items in a box for safekeeping. Female astronauts on various space shuttle flights used a supplement to the hygiene kit to carry and secure cosmetics. Hygiene kits throughout the years have also carried tissues and shaving necessities for space crews.
Skylab astronauts used a tool belt dotted with pouches and lined with hook and loop. They used wrenches and other specially designed items to make repairs when needed. The tool belt doubled as a storage place for small parts. Countless NASA crews tethered tools and equipment in place to avoid floating injuries during a mission. Imagine catching a wrench in the eye while floating about the cabin; these VELCRO® Brand applications prevent problems like that.
Even something as trivial as eating meals in space can be challenging. Astronauts use hook and loop fasteners to secure their food trays to their laps, making meals more manageable and no doubt more enjoyable.
Astronauts also use hook and loop to play chess in space, or to store items on the wall for easy access. Over the years, VELCRO® Brand applications have helped to make NASA missions successful, but even though they are used many miles above our planet, these fasteners are still used every day here on Earth as well.