The fireproof suit used by Hamilton, Raikkonen and Alonso was invented in space

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The fireproof suit used by Hamilton, Raikkonen and Alonso…

F1 drivers, fire fighters, Batman and astronauts have at least a couple of things in common. For instance, they have all been called superheroes (some of them more often than the rest). However, in this case we are making reference to their suits, which make them virtually indestructible.

Since the first suit to travel into space (it was orange, by the way) was created, technology has greatly improved in its goal: keeping astronauts alive. Extreme temperatures (whether high or low), constant radiation, lack of oxygen, scarce food and water… Astronauts have plenty of obstacles to survival. For this reason, in order to keep them safe, aerospace agencies never stop working on their wardrobe.

It all began in 1950, when polybenzymidazole was synthesized. Engineers were looking for an ideal polymer, capable of withstanding extreme temperatures. This material was quickly incorporated into the daily lives of military pilots and astronauts. Then, other industries came, such as the firefighting sector and Formula 1. Since then, both have enhanced their fireproof suits to achieve results as pro as those we see today.

Nomex, aluminized Mylar, Nylon, Spandex, Teflon… These are not alien names, but materials commonly used to manufacture space suits. It currently takes about 5,000 hours to make a single suit. And beware of the price: the most basic version costs about 10 million euros!