The Spacesuit


What could a seamstress know about the specific requirements of astronaut clothing? What cloth might she/ he need to construct any garments? What sizes? Would they need to consider movement, warmth, mobility? Imagine considering all of this without Google?

Ellie Foraker was an esteemed seamstress approached by Playtex to lead their entry in a national competition to create spacesuits for the Apollo 11 crew. What were the special conditions to be taken into account? What sort of machinery would be available? Who would help? What considerations did Ellie include in her designs? What about the competition?

The Spacesuit‘ is a fascinating story about a woman with a key role in a momentous event in history. Told in picture book format, Alison Donal and Ariel Landy employ factual asides in this tale, accompanied by bright Jetson style pictures.

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The Spacesuit

How a seamstress helped put man on the moon

Alison Donald & Ariel Landy

(Maverick Books)

Ellie Foraker is not very well known. ‘The Spacesuit’ shares the story of this trailblazing woman, who took up the challenge of designing and making suits worn by the crew of Apollo 11.
First of all there was an invitation to enter a national competition. Thereafter, came an exhaustive process to create and construct garments that could withstand extreme and unknown conditions. Could Ellie and her team step up? What sort of  conditions did they have to consider? There is wonder and discovery alongside the science of the project. This is a perfect companion to How to Be an Astronaut or Survival in Space. What’s more we learn about hitherto unknown people who have been fundamental to the development of our entry to and discovery of space. Rather like Counting on Katherine we learn the effort, planning and determination. Furthermore, we realise the science behind the work undertaken.

Meanwhile, other people, critical to NASA projects are highlighted through NASA People. Thereafter, we direct keen readers and space investigators to Space Explorers which contemplates the history of our investigation of the heavens.

Meanwhile, there’s ‘The Spacesuit’,  a fascinating story of an unknown and startling project and event.


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