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                                              Going above and beyond: materials needed for space applications

                                              Going above and beyond: materials needed for space applications

                                              If you ask the average person what the most exciting, futuristic, imagination-inducing form of travel and innovation has been over the past few decades, chances are space travel would be included in the conversation!

                                              As a planet, we’ve launched countless satellites and even people into space in the name of science and discovery. In 1969, we saw a human set foot on the moon for the very first time – but even this significant and celebrated moment in history did little to curb our enthusiasm for exploring space further.

                                              Goodfellow’s place in space

                                              Here at Goodfellow, we know that each and every industry we work with is exciting and innovative, but there’s no argument that it is space travel that has captured the imagination of so many people around the world.

                                              Our involvement with space travel comes in supplying materials that can be utilised in high-tech applications and withstand harsh environments. In fact, we’ve even supplied such materials to NASA!

                                              What properties are necessary?

                                              On a basic level, any material used in a space application – whether for a satellite or rocket – needs to withstand harsh environments. This can mean extremes in temperature, pressure and exposure to the sun, so the materials need to be stable. For example, dimensional stability is needed to withstand temperature highs and lows, and environmental stability helps withstand conditions such as radiation or pressure from the vacuum of space or a pressurised cabin.  

                                              So generally speaking, materials used in space need to be strong and stable. However, just like any high-tech project, the specific material requirements depend purely on the exact application and use.

                                              Platinum wires for an imaging system

                                              A great example here is the importance of purity in Platinum wires. Specifically, the purity and mechanical properties of the Platinum wires used in a Ring Imaging Cherenkov Counter system for the International Space Station were critical to the success of the mission. Knowing this, Goodfellow continuously characterised the material by monitoring the mechanical properties and chemical analysis of every single batch to ensure that everything was consistent and according to the given specifications.

                                              Just like all applications, the desired properties in space applications depend on the requirements of each project. At Goodfellow, we can help determine whether the material requested fits the experiment or application in question. Our team can even switch out the material for another option, providing the best, most effective solution possible.

                                              To learn more or to get help with a materials challenge, please contact the Goodfellow team.

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