The Space Race was an exciting opportunity for our brand to explore the fascinating medium of outer space alongside American engineers and astronauts. To safely transport astronauts and their equipment, Velcro Companies designed an array of new technologies for the U.S. Space program and helped make American dreams of spaceflight a reality.
As space exploration became a national priority in the 1950s and 1960s, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) repeatedly turned to Velcro Companies to help solve the wide range of engineering challenges presented by space travel including the perils of weightlessness.
On NASA’s high-profile, early missions, Velcro Companies designed an extensive range of custom hook-and-loop fasteners to secure key technical equipment and ensure astronaut crews could reach their mission objectives.
VELCRO® Brand hook and loop has several characteristics that make it naturally suitable for the temperature and gravity challenges of outer space. The jam-proof fasteners used in space travel were lightweight and flexible, allowing them to secure key items in zero-gravity environments within space modules. Nearly all items within American spacecraft featured VELCRO® Brand fastening solutions that enabled astronauts to secure instruments (and even things like writing utensils and bags of food) without them floating away. Since the fasteners operated independently of all spaceship systems, astronauts could rely on our products in the event of mechanical or electrical malfunctions.
Given the amount of VELCRO® Brand product used throughout the spacecraft – about 500 pieces of hook and loop were used inside and outside the Apollo 7 – it was critical for the fasteners to be flame resistant. Responding to NASA requests, the company rapidly completed the design of fire-resistant Astro-VELCRO® in the early 1960s for use throughout the spacecraft and astronaut’s suits and gear.
NASA engineers favored VELCRO® Brand hook and loop when designing equipment for direct use in outer space. Since VELCRO® Brand products were corrosion proof, waterproof, durable and flexible, they could be used to support astronauts in orbit and connect vital equipment to the exterior of NASA spacecraft.
Throughout NASA’s foundational missions, American astronauts benefited from custom partnerships with Velcro Companies. Our products have supported missions throughout NASA history, including milestone achievements like the Apollo moon landings, where VELCRO® Brand closures were widely used to secure critical scientific equipment to both command and lunar modules, along with moon Rover units.
Today, many NASA instruments featuring VELCRO® Brand fasteners are important artifacts in American and world history. Several are on display in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., while others are prized private possessions, with the wristwatch NASA commander David Scott wore while walking on the moon recently selling at auction for over $1.3 million. The Bulova watch, which Scott wore during his many outer space missions, is the only privately owned watch to have been worn on the moon in the entire world.
Many NASA astronauts became fond of the reliability and adaptability of VELCRO® Brand products, incorporating them playfully into their shuttle routines. For example, some NASA astronauts built VELCRO® Brand hook-and-loop tape into their helmets, so they could scratch their noses while in outer space, while others played darts with tips made of hook-and-loop, rather than the usual metal.
Velcro Companies has always been committed to providing innovative and effective solutions for a wide variety of needs. Our collaboration with the brilliant men and women of the United States Space Program as they pioneered outer space is one of the proudest chapters in our company history. Today, Velcro Companies maintains a close relationship with key research and innovation institutions around the world.