Weaving into Outer Space
First of all, a big thank you to Diane Ferguson, who emailed this story idea to Madelyn van der Hoogt, who then sent it off to BeWeave It headquarters. Those of you who have been reading BeWeave It for the past few years know that textiles play an integral role in science past, present, and future. One exciting example of this is the textiles being produced by Bally Ribbon in Bally, Pennsylvania. The company began in 1923 weaving silk hatbands and has since expanded to weaving ribbons for military medals as well as textile for medical implants and space vessels.
Specifically, Bally helped develop the pads that will go between the Orion crew module and its service module. The pads will also serve as protection when the passenger capsule reenters the Earth’s atmosphere. These pads are not your typical textile; rather, they are three inches thick and woven out of quartz fiber. Not only that, but they are woven using a three-dimensional weaving technique to make them extra durable.
What makes this all so very special? Not only will the pads go into space, but they will also possibly make it to Mars, which is one of NASA's goals after the development of the new Space Launch System. Not bad for a small weaving mill in Pennsylvania!