Beta cloth is a type of fireproof silica fiber cloth used in the manufacture of "Apollo/Skylab A7L space suits, the Apollo "Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment, the McDivitt Purse, and in other specialized applications.
Beta cloth consists of fine woven "silica fiber, similar to "fiberglass. The resulting fabric will not burn, and will melt only at temperatures exceeding 650 °C (1,200 °F). To reduce its tendency to crease or tear when manipulated, and to increase durability, the fibers are coated with "Teflon.
A tight weave of Beta cloth makes it more durable against atomic oxygen exposure. Its ability to resist atomic oxygen exposure makes it commonly used as the outer-most layer in mult-layer insulation for space, and it was used significantly on the Space Shuttle and the "International Space Station.
It was implemented in NASA "space suits after the deadly 1967 "Apollo 1 launch pad fire, in which the astronauts' nylon suits burned through. After the fire, NASA demanded any potentially flammable materials were to be removed from both the spacecraft and space suits. Beta cloth was developed by a Manned Spacecraft Center team led by Frederick S. Dawn and including Matthew I. Radnofsky working with the "Owens-Corning and "DuPont companies.
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