From the editor’s desk: Making and sending things to space

29 May 2020 News

In this issue, one of the topics we are featuring is the aerospace and military/defence sector. The feature includes an analysis of what it takes to successfully design and manufacture products in this highly challenging target market, written by Kreon Technology’s Louis Le Roux and Omnigo’s Pieter de Nysschen. It also includes an article by Avnet Silica’s Paul Leys about why the new generation of space satellites demand a new approach to electronic component selection.

The aerospace event catching all the headlines at the moment, and giving people an uplift (both literal and figurative) during these difficult times, is the recent successful launch of SpaceX’s shuttle carrying two astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). It marks the first time a commercial company has ever put humans into space, and the first time the USA has done so in nearly a decade – a feat Donald Trump predictably took credit for as if he did it all himself, distracting from the fact that his country is burning, and has suffered by far the most COVID-19 infections and deaths in the world.

Brett van den Bosch.

Most of the media coverage of this accomplishment has been US-centric, which I suppose is fair enough since NASA played a pivotal role, but what’s truly exciting is the commercial aspect, which effectively demonstrates that it’s viable for private companies to enter the space race. Such a venture would require plenty of financial investment and jumping through legal/regulatory hoops, of course, but in theory a kid who watched video of the flight (which was live-streamed from on-board cameras, right from launch up until docking with the ISS) can dream of becoming an astronaut and one day going to space themselves – whether they’re from Mongolia, Zimbabwe, or anywhere else, not just the USA.

Quite frankly, with the way things are currently going on Earth, I think a lot of us could do with a few months of peace and quiet on a space station.


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