You can’t have escaped the proliferation of journeys to space in recent years. While NASA itself may not be launching as many missions as it used to, companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin are making headlines with both orbital and suborbital flights that are captivating a new generation with the wonders of space exploration.
Watching William Shatner, Captain Kirk himself, boldly go where only a few people have gone before brought worldwide interest to this new generation of space vehicles. There is no doubt that watching the rocket part of the craft separate and then return to Earth and land itself is something special, and it would have been science fiction just a couple of decades ago.
But did you know just how much specialised surface treatments have shaped space exploration almost from the beginning? Today, highly heat resistant processes such as electroless nickel coating provide components with the protection needed for repeated trips in intense heat and extreme cold. But there is one type of surface treatment that has played an even greater role.
Going back to the early 1960s, space suits have featured PTFE coatings on the outside. The ability to withstand extreme temperatures and low friction properties combine to make it the perfect outer finish for these vital suits. So, from John Glenn as he became the first American to orbit the planet, Ed White making the first US space walk through to Neil Armstrong’s momentous step for mankind, PTFE coatings were there helping to protect these heroes throughout their journeys. Find out more at a site like https://www.poeton.co.uk/standard-treatments/electroless-nickel-ptfe/
But it doesn’t stop at space suits, these surface treatments have been used in every aspect of the journey to the moon and beyond. PTFE coatings have been used to protect vulnerable areas of rockets and reduce atmospheric resistance for both launches and returns and have been integral to almost every space launch over the last 50 years.
That includes history-making unmanned projects like Voyager, the Mars Rover and so many more, and of course, all the flights to the International Space Station. All of them owe a little part of their success to effective surface treatments, with PTFE coatings an integral part of our space journey history, and it continues to be into the future.
The Future of Space Exploration
Now Captain Kirk has been to space for real, it’s easy to see these trips as something of a novelty, but the reality is that each flight, whichever company is involved, gives them valuable data to continue to refine and expand their projects.
With the next major barrier being establishing a base outside of the Earth’s orbit, the moon will be the near-term destination. But for the future of humanity, finding a way to settle on Mars and eventually beyond is where these flights today will eventually lead us. With surface treatments providing protection at every stage of the journey, PTFE coatings and other specialised solutions will be an integral part in humanity’s greatest adventure, wherever it may take us.