NASA-funded spacesuit technology can provide hot flash relief for menopausal women 


NASA-funded spacesuit featuring climate controlling system could help women going through the menopause by providing hot flash relief

  • Material that was meant for astronauts’ gloves is being used in clothing that can provide relief from hot flashes
  • Textile maker Louise Nicholson was seeking a way to provide relief to menopausal women and her search led to NASA-backed technology
  • About 1.3 million people enter menopause each year and the condition can last for several years and sometimes causes ‘debilitating’ symptoms
  • Nicholson’s company, Fifty One Apparel, sells tops, bottoms, accessories and other items containing the temperature-stabilizing technology 

Space technology funded by NASA may help menopausal women experiencing discomfort from hot flashes. 

Material that was originally meant for gloves to be worn in outer space is now being used by a company that aims to help those suffering from the sweaty, overheated episodes that are commonplace at the end of menstruation. 

About 1.3 million people enter menopause each year, the space agency estimates, and the condition can last for several years and sometimes causes ‘debilitating’ symptoms.

Textile maker Louise Nicholson was seeking a way to provide relief to anyone experiencing these symptoms, but she found most options lacking until she came across a material made possible by NASA funding. 

Space technology funded by NASA may help menopausal women experiencing discomfort from hot flashes. These materials can maintain a consistent temperature as they change from solid to liquid or vice versa

‘I did some initial research to find out what was on the market, and there was absolutely nothing apart from nightwear,’ Nicholson, who founded London-based Fifty One Apparel, said in a statement.

In the midst of her searches, she came across a technology called Outlast.

NASA’s Johnson Space Center was looking to improve insulation in spacesuit gloves in the 1980s and entered into a contract with Triangle Research and Development Corporation to probe the use of so-called phase change materials. 

These materials can maintain a consistent temperature as they change from solid to liquid or vice versa.

Material that was originally meant for gloves to be worn in outer space is now being used by a company that aims to help those suffering from the sweaty, overheated episodes that are commonplace at the end of menstruation

Material that was originally meant for gloves to be worn in outer space is now being used by a company that aims to help those suffering from the sweaty, overheated episodes that are commonplace at the end of menstruation

Triangle was able to embed the phase-changing materials into microcapsules that could then be used as a fabric insert for a spacesuit glove.

'I did some initial research to find out what was on the market,' Louise Nicholson (above), who founded London-based Fifty One Apparel, said in a statement.

‘I did some initial research to find out what was on the market,’ Louise Nicholson (above), who founded London-based Fifty One Apparel, said in a statement.

The gloves never made it to outer space, but another firm known as Outlast Technologies acquired the patent for the material and marketed it under the name Outlast.

By bonding Outlast to cellulosic yarn, Fifty One Apparel’s clothing maintains the temperature-regulating properties of phase-change materials but retains the look and feel of high-end fabrics. 

The initial products included a line of shirts in four styles that were sold to consumers in the London area at events – and now the firm has jumped into e-commerce to sell tops, bottoms and nightwear.

The company – named for the age when most women begin to experience menopausal symptoms – has grown its range of products using the Outlast technology, including accessories like scarves, facemasks and turbans. 

As of 2021, the United States is Fifty One’s second-largest market after the United Kingdom, and the company is looking to obtain a local distributor for the product.

By bonding Outlast to cellulosic yarn, Fifty One Apparel's clothing maintains the temperature-regulating properties of phase-change materials but retains the look and feel of high-end fabrics

By bonding Outlast to cellulosic yarn, Fifty One Apparel’s clothing maintains the temperature-regulating properties of phase-change materials but retains the look and feel of high-end fabrics

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