Beta cloth

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Beta cloth is a type of fireproof silica fiber cloth used in the manufacture of Apollo/Skylab A7L space suits 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. To reduce its tendency to crease or tear when manipulated, and to increase durability, the fibers may be coated with Teflon.

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. However they were challenged as to what they would replace it with and scoured the country in search of a material. Beta cloth was developed by a Manned Spacecraft Center team led by Frederick S. Dawn and including Matthew I. Radofsky working with the Dow-Corning Company. The fire-resistant Beta cloth was among changes to make the Apollo spacecraft and systems safer in the event of a similar situation.[citation needed]

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