By now, most people are aware that efforts are underway to bring humans out of low Earth orbit, past the Moon, and on to Mars. But few people are aware of the extensive research and testing that goes on behind the scenes to ensure the safety of astronauts on those future missions. In order to make the trip a reality, new technologies must be designed to cope with the harsh environment of outer space.
One of the most important components of a space mission is the spacecraft itself – and a trip to Mars requires a very special craft. As such, NASA has been working with Lockheed Martin and other vendors to develop this spacecraft, called Orion.
The Orion crew capsule resembles early crew modules from NASA’s history, taking on a conical shape. It will be mounted on a rocket called the Space Launch System (SLS), which will propel it into space.
One of the biggest hurdles of space flight is getting through Earth’s atmosphere and being exposed to high heat and radiation during the journey. For this reason, it’s critical to conduct extensive research and testing to determine the right material combinations for this type of mission.
Not only is it important for the craft itself and its occupants to be adequately protected, but the electronic systems must also be taken into consideration. It’s therefore necessary to select electromagnetic (EM) shielding to guard against disruptive electromagnetic frequencies. And, similarly, it’s important to consider the possibility of electrostatic discharge (ESD) impacting the circuitry, and to find reliable ESD protection.
As a supplier of EM and ESD shielding materials, Vanguard Products is proud to have a role in ensuring a safe mission for the Orion team. We look forward to watching the project’s progress and eventually sending humans on long-distance flights through space, knowing that we had a hand in that success.