The Parthenon has to be thought of as a system of communication like the telephone. And the telephone is has to be thought of as a means of production of space like the Parthenon. The telephone, like all systems of communication, defines a new spatiality and can be inhabited... Like the coat of paint, the telephone is a form of clothing that can be occupied, but not by the preexisting culture.
NASA PLSS engineering Diagram (1964); systems engineering "House of Quality" diagram
In his book, Spacesuit : Fashioning Apollo, Nicholas de Monchaux explains that American Cold Warriors not only mastered logistics, they became enthusiastic adopters of command-control systems built on "cybernetics," a discipline that grew out of the mathematician Norbert Wiener's work during WWII to build more accurate anti-aircraft targeting, and management strategies like systems engineering developed by Bell Labs.
These disciplines were harnessed to the monumentally complex task of building America's arsenal of ICBMs; an effort that involved the blending of American military, academic, industrial, and governmental elite into the so called "military-industrial complex." NASA was the most visible aspect of that covert network, the very public tip of an iceberg that was otherwise wrapped in secrecy and violent paranoia. The game theories of military planners and the literal "black box" compartmentalization of military contractors were at the procedural core of NASA's effort to put a man on the moon. According to Monchaux, the Mercury rockets that propelled the first American astronauts into space were nothing other than a "repurposed missile" with capsule instead of a warhead.
Minuteman III Launch Control Capsule; First maned Mercury rocket launch (1961)
These early system analysts prided themselves on being rational and objective. For them white was the whiteness of laboratories and clean rooms. This was no longer the appearance of hygiene, it was the look of objective neutrality; rationally structured progress; of control.
Mercury spacecraft the clean room at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft (1960); awkward moment in the clean room
But that is not to say the desire for a hard suit was objective or unsullied by bias. The closer the system got to the astronauts bodies, the more intimate the contact between system and body, the less objective it became:
Their hard, gleaming surfaces fulfilled a science-fiction fantasy of spaceflight; sleek, efficient, functional and firm. The vision was both more physically substantial and more stylistically masculine than the layered soft goods of Playtex.The lead designer of NASA's AX series of hard suits, Hubert 'Vic' Vykukal (pictured striking a manly posing in his hard suit below), mocked the humbler logic of clothing: "I wouldn't go into space in something made on a sewing machine." He inhabited a system of communication that valued breaking complex problems like spacesuits and rocket, into discrete component parts, each of which could be presented by a contractor in a black box, protecting its workings from those with no need-to-know.
Monchaux explains that, "the space program was only ever designed to produce a single TV image of an American man on the moon. In 1968, once they’d succeeded in doing that, you had all of the original engineers losing their jobs. For instance, at Berkeley, where I teach, and also at MIT, there was a summer school in 1968 explicitly organized to train engineers who had been let go from NASA for new jobs in urban administration—for NASA engineers to become city managers."