NASA’s space technology is incredible; it can withstand the harsh and unforgiving environments of previously unexplored space. Now, one piece of technology developed by the space agency for its space endeavours will assist elderly women in dealing with the effects of menopause.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that 1.3 million Americans begin to experience menopausal symptoms each year, which are typically characterised by hot flashes. The fluctuating temperatures that accompany menopause can last for years and range from uncomfortable to incapacitating. NASA technology will help alleviate these severe symptoms.
Outlast is the name given to the technology in question. According to NASA’s website, it was created in the 1980s when the space agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston was looking for ways to improve insulation in spacesuit gloves. The center then investigated ‘phase-change materials, which maintain a constant temperature as they change phase from solid to liquid or vice versa,’ in collaboration with Triangle Research and Development Corporation.
They were able to ‘demonstrate the effectiveness of a temperature-stabilizing fabric insert for a spacesuit glove’ with success. However, the technology was never used in space. Outlast will now be used by Louise Nicholson, a textile marketer who wanted to help women stay comfortable during menopause.
Fifty One Apparel, Nicholson’s London-based company, has introduced ‘high-end fabrics’ made ‘by bonding Outlast to cellulosic yarn,’ which helps the clothing retain ‘the temperature-regulating properties of phase-change materials’ while retaining ‘the look and feel of high-end fabrics’.
The company’s initial offerings were limited to a line of four designs of shirts, which were initially distributed to customers in the London area through parties. However, the company has evolved to include online sales of tops, bottoms, and nightwear to people all over the world. Fifty One also sells turbans, facemasks, and scarves that use space technology to keep menopausal women cool.