It’s an exciting time for space travel. Private companies are talking about going to space and what we can do there. The overarching impact this could have on humanity is major of course. But even on a much smaller industry-wide scale, it’s great news. With more and more private companies in space, parts and pieces for all kinds of things will need machining—all without government contracts.
Private Companies in Space
One of the most well known companies in the space race is the one founded by Elon Musk. But is the SpaceX long long term goal to create a permanent 80,000 person colony on Mars just a fantasy? Maybe, but the progress made by the company does warrant attention. With a resume already of historic and diverse milestones, such as the powerful improvements to the Falcon 9 rocket and the impressive test flights of the Grasshopper, it doesn’t seem as far-fetched as once thought. SpaceX has shown it can control the take-off and landing of rockets in ways not seen before.
Space tourism is such an intriguing idea and that’s what Virgin Galactic is tackling. They’ve had some setbacks, but Virgin Galactic is the first company to launch a human space flight mission on American soil since we closed down the Space Shuttle. They are making progress and using human pilots to do so. We can’t wait to see what they will do next.
Going about it a different way, this company is helping to bring information from space back down to Earth. They have created a device merely the size of a shoebox which can record and transmit to Earth via laser data from other satellites by the terabyte. It’s current focus is on high resolution images. There are plenty of technological advancements that can be grown from here.
Spire Global is taking weather data to whole new dimensions. Spire was one of the first commercial satellite companies picked by NOAA. The company started as a Kickstarter idea and is now funded up to $66.5 million to produce advanced and accurate weather models. The company has a small fleet of shoebox-sized CubeSats, called “Lemurs,” used to measure GPS signals deflected of the Earth’s atmosphere to more accurately ascertain temperature, pressure and humidity.
Testing the growth of bacteria in space can provide a lot of quick and beneficial information. However it’s an expensive undertaking. This is where SpacePharma as come in. This private company is attempting to make it more affordable by utilizing autonomous minilabs thrust into space. They’ve successfully sent an unmanned mission to the International Space Station and back with samples.
What Could Private Companies in Space Mean for Machining?
Of course we’re not sure yet, but we believe these advances by private companies in space could have far reaching benefits for industries across the world. Even the most optimistic business owners have operated under “the sky’s the limit” mentality. Now we don’t have to stop there. We like to think that we’ll be part of making the machines that help you get there.