The Upstate’s role in “one giant leap for mankind”

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 4.44.36 PM

Image by Pexels

Table of Contents

On Monday, we mentioned that tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing where Neil Armstrong took “one giant leap for mankind.” What we didn’t mention was that the Upstate played an important role in this iconic moon mission.


Apollo 11 | Gif by giphy

What? How was the Upstate involved?

Back in the 1960s, Slater Milla textile mill in northern Greenville County – was working on a top secret NASA project, even though the workers had no idea that what they were working on would be so historic. Why would NASA be recruiting help from a tiny Upstate mill? The intelligence + creativity of the workers.

So, what were they working on?

They were trying to create a “beta-fabric” which could handle intense heat. The idea was to replace the nylon-based astronaut suits worn in the Apollo 1 tragedy. The material is actually made from glasswhich doesn’t sound comfortable – but those Slater Mill workers created the material for the very astronaut suits that were worn by Neil Armstrong + Buzz Aldrin on their historic space roadtrip. 🚀

Pretty cool, huh? If you’re in the mood to celebrate the 50th anniversary this weekend, there’s a couple of ways to do so. Roper Mountain Science Center is showing “Apollo 11: Man’s First Step on the Moon” tomorrow (3 p.m.), Upcountry History Museum is showing “The Day We Walked on the Moon” – a Smithsonian documentary – on Saturday (11 a.m. + 2 p.m.), and #ForKids, the Children’s Museum of the Upstate has some Apollo-themed kids activities (view the schedule to see activities + times here).

If you’re still in the mood to celebrate the next week, be sure to check out the Apollo 11 themed silent disco at the Old Cigar Warehouse on July 27.

Many people used to think of the Greenville area as a “podunk” town, but this “podunk” town helped those men get to the moon 50 years ago.


See the bottom of today’s newsletter for the correct answer.