How Does NASA Use Aluminum?

From the launch of the first satellite over 50 years ago, aluminum has been the first choice in materials by the experts in the space programs. Materials used by NASA must be able to function under extreme stress, pressure, and low temperatures. As aluminum is already the metal of choice for building airplane parts, it also becoming the metal of choice for the experts at NASA.

There a quite a few obstacles to overcome when designing a spacecraft. Materials must be lightweight, reusable, and able to operate in a space environment. According to a report produced by NASA Engineers, these requirements are what led them to choose aluminum as one of the main components of their spacecrafts. The materials must be able to overcome launch, landing, and low-earth orbit. Here are a few ways in which NASA uses aluminum:

Thermal Protection

NASA uses a few layers of gold, titanium, nickel and aluminum to for a thermal blanket of protection around their satellites, space telescopes, and rockets, for protection from the vacuum of space. These blankets help to reflect the external heat of the sun as well as trap internal heat on the side facing away from the sun.

Radiation Protection

The sun transfers heat through radiation to both the equipment and astronauts. In order to control the surface temperatures of any object exposed to the dangerous radiation of the sun, the equipment is wrapped with metal reflectors. The reflectors are made from silver, copper, gold and aluminum. These reflectors help to maintain a cool consistent temperature.

Spacecraft Components

Because of its strength, durability and weight efficiency, NASA uses aluminum to produce various mechanical parts. These include:

  • Control Arms
  • Aluminum Wheels
  • Steering Knuckles
  • Brake Calipers
  • Automotive Cross Members

Through the use of aluminum, NASA was able to update and improve the technology of their spacecrafts. As a result of these improvements, the spacecrafts of today and tomorrow will be both energy efficient and cost effective. In addition to being NASA-approved, we at Avion Alloys serve a variety of industries around the world. If you would like to receive a quote, connect with us online or call us at (800) 408-2329

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