The garments that Brazilian astronaut Marcos César Pontes is going to wear during his trip to space on board of a Russian ship were made in São Paulo, in southeastern Brazil.
Two blue jumpsuits, two pairs of trousers, five polo shirts and a leather jacket are part of the baggage. The jumpsuits, which were made according to North American military norms, are already being worn by Pontes during his training.
The company from São Paulo that is responsible for his clothes is Flytex, which is specialized in garments and accessories turned to aeronauts, policemen and professionals of other tactical activities.
This is the first time that the company has made an astronaut jumpsuit. "I am very pleased with the story," stated Marília Fajardo Oliveira, who is responsible for production of the garments.
According to her, the first contact with the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB) took place in November last year, when a representative from the AEB saw a pilot wearing a jumpsuit made by Flytex at a shopping mall in Brazilian capital Brasília.
"The first order they made was for the emblems to be stitched onto the jumpsuit," stated Marília, who made three emblems: the Brazilian flag, the symbol of the Brazilian Foreign Trade Association and of the Centenarian Mission, an honor to the first flight by Brazilian aviator Santos Dumont.
After that, the AEB asked Marília to see whether it would also be possible to make the jumpsuit for the astronaut, as he was wearing a North American one and they would like him to wear a Brazilian uniform.
"I went after the necessary information and made it," she said. Production follows North American standards. She explained that the norms are similar to those used in the production of garments for pilots, which the businesswoman already sells.
"Initially the jumpsuit was only going to be worn for training and press conferences, but I have heard that the astronaut is also going to wear it at the International Space Station," she commemorates.
According to Marília, the jumpsuit is navy blue and was made out of a fabric that protects against ultraviolet light and which does not fade. Another detail that differentiates her jumpsuit from the North American ones is the zipper on the sleeves, making it possible for the astronaut to wear the clothes with or without sleeves.
"I created this differential because of the Brazilian tropical climate," she said, adding that she also produces this model of jumpsuit for pilots.
Experience with production of garments for pilots began as a hobby of her husband’s, Marcelo Silva Oliveira, who is a pilot and a collector of American military uniforms. "Every time we travelled abroad, people asked us to bring uniforms. That was when I had the idea of producing jumpsuits," stated Marília.
Flytex arose four years ago and produces around 500 items a month. Apart from the jumpsuits, trousers, polo shirts and jackets, the company produces waistcoats with pockets, bags for helmets and other accessories.
Flytex garments may be found over the whole of the national territory. At the beginning of this year, the company made its first exports to Italy and Switzerland.
"Now my interest is in the foreign market. With the astronaut wearing our clothes, attention is being drawn to us," she stated.
Marcos Pontes, who is also being trained in Russia, is going to be the first Brazilian to travel to space. The flight is going to take place on March 30, headed towards the International Space Station, 400 kilometers away from the Earth.
On board of the Soyuz spacecraft, Pontes is going to travel accompanied by a Russian and a North American. He is going to take Brazilian scientific experiments for the execution of tests in an environment of microgravity.
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