Posts Tagged ‘aerospace’

Through the Troposphere, Stratosphere, Thermosphere and into Outer Space!

January 27, 2011

When someone brings up the topic of aerospace, what usually comes to mind?  It is not a commonly discussed subject for most people.  It’s understandable because, over the years, aerospace has waxed and waned in popularity.  Aerospace was a frequent topic of discussion as I was growing up since my father, president of Spacetron Metal Bellows, was in the Aerospace Industry.  Hearing about the shuttle launches, new launch vehicle ideas, and satellite landings were not out of the ordinary for me.  I find aerospace very interesting but misunderstood in its importance.  Many people think that investing time or money in aerospace is unnecessary.  They don’t see the benefits that result from years of research and development that scientists and engineers have put into it.  The truth is, there are many short- and long-term benefits that result from learning about aerospace.  For example, the people who have been able to obtain jobs in this field have conducted experiments such as growing vegetation in space or testing different vaccines.  They also discovered a new outlook on travel.

The popularity of and support for aerospace has waxed and waned over the years due to the economy and administration in the White House.  The discoveries made by going into space won't end with the Space Shuttle's final flight.Space travel has expanded greatly over the years.  It started off as a simple dream to, one day, fly into the open sky.  Before long, we pushed our limits and sought to go as high as possible.  Finally, we went past the sky and entered into a whole new world: outer space.  We achieved spaceflight by breaking it down into different phases.  Starting with spaceports, engineers were able to test space vehicles and come to conclusions about how they would be launched.  With the space vehicles completed, launch pads were prepared next.  After everything was ready, it was time for lift-off.  The space vehicle launched into the air, achieving very high velocities, and broke through the atmosphere.  With the development of a fleet of Space Shuttles, we were fortunate enough to go into space quite frequently.  According to the Associated Press article by Seth Borenstein, the 135th and last shuttle flight will take place this year.  Although it may be the last time the Space Shuttle takes flight, it doesn’t mean that space flight ends here.  Advances in technology will allow us to travel to space faster and cheaper than before, as well as make new discoveries, so get ready.  You could be the next one visiting outer space!

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Joie Montoya

The Public Launch of a “Private” Space Plane

April 23, 2010

Please retweet

The United States Air Force launches a spacecraft, but mission details and even its duration remain a mystery.

The evening of April 22 marked the launch of the United State Air Force’s spacecraft, the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, into space to test “a new batch of reusable technologies”, according to Gary Payton, deputy undersecretary of the Air Force space program.  Launched into space using an Atlas V rocket booster from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the test vehicle will undergo a demonstration mission.  Payton, however, would not go into further detail about the length of the mission or what exactly the demonstration will entail.  Following the mission’s end, the craft will land at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.  Following the renewed commitment of the government to the U.S. space program, we can expect more aerospace-related activity in the near future.

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Francis M. Unson

Welding Explained

March 9, 2010
Rick Montoya, Welding Aluminum Forging

Rick Montoya, Welding Aluminum Forging

Rick Montoya, president of Valencia Welding, Inc., has worked at Santa Clarita Valley’s Industrial Park for almost 30 years and has done welding with a variety of metals during that time span, from steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and even titanium alloys in aerospace applications.  Unbeknown to me, a non-welding techie, it turns out that there are many, many ways to stick two pieces of metal together.  I won’t give you the earful that Rick gave me, but a small primer about what holds your copper pipes together as well as the titanium tubes in the B-2 Bomber, is forthcoming.

Please retweetWelding has come a long way in a very short time span.  Even as recently as the end of the 1800s, welding consisted of one process alone: forge welding, the process in which blacksmiths joined metals together by heating and hammering them.  However, by the start of World War I, a demand for reliable and inexpensive joining methods brought forth new arc welding and related processes.  The Space Age in the 1950s demanded precision, giving birth to laser beam and electron beam welding. By the turn of the 21st century, the industry had a wide array of welding processes at their disposal.

I alluded to a specific type of welding, but generally speaking, what is welding?  It is a fabrication process that joins materials, such as metals or thermoplastics, by causing coalescence and is usually done by melting the parts with a filler material, forming a pool of molten material that, when cool, becomes a strong joint, depending on the metals used.  On the other hand, the titanium welds that Rick has performed were done in a Spacetron Vacuum Chamber at Spacetron Metal Bellows, a provider of complex, titanium bellows and precision-welded titanium structures for the aerospace industry, where Rick is Chief Operating Officer (COO).

If I didn’t drink so much coffee, I’d have the steady welder’s hand that he has.

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Francis M. Unson