Blog: Leonie BarrieFirefighters to boldly go...

Leonie Barrie | 6 March 2006

Good to hear that the work being done by the European Space Agency - which bills itself as ‘Europe’s gateway to space’ – is also benefiting those of us with our feet firmly on the ground. The technology used in space suits to protect astronauts from overheating when exposed to direct sunlight during space walks is now being used to develop protective clothing to safeguard firefighters and steel workers who often work in extremely hot and dangerous conditions.
Apparently heat strokes and heat stress affects more than 50,000 European workers each year, so the ESA’s Safe&Cool project is now researching a special 3D protective material with a built-in cooling system.

The cooling apparatus has already been used in clothing for Formula-1 McLaren mechanics and the Spanish Moto-GP driver, Sete Gibernau. But one company in the Safe&Cool consortium wants to use the system inside passenger seats in cars and public transport. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘sitting in the hot seat’ doesn’t it?

Space suit technology can protect workers from heatstroke


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