After the untimely death of Sam Shepard recently, we thought we’d pay tribute with a reminder of his portrayal of Chuck Yaeger, in the film version of Tom Wolfe’s 1979 novel The Right Stuff.



This US Navy BUAER Indian Orange flight suit is exactly the kind of thing some of these early space cowboys wore in the infancy of NASA’s space programme. As such it is the genetic template for all NASA’s space suits to follow in terms of cut, pockets, zips etc. The outer shell flight suits are an all together different breed, designed to withstand the rigours of zero gravity, they’re more like the carapace of a lobster, air tight, strong with articulated joints.


The book and the film, chart the early days of the United States space race, and the work of the hand picked test pilots, recruited from the Navy and Air Force. It documents their grit, courage and determination and the toll it takes to have ‘the right stuff’ to get into space.



See you Sam, a true Renaissance man.


Words Simon Mclean

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