In the early 1960’s, we finally left Earth’s atmosphere for the first time and entered the dark void of space (cue theme tune from 2001). For these very first forays into space, NASA utilised Stainless Steel components in each of it's three manned spaceflight programs (Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo).
Due to stainless steel’s exceptional resistance to temperature, it was key to the creation of the heat shields (amongst other components), protecting the craft and crew members from the heat endured in the fight. Apollo 11 later became the first manned mission to land on the Moon at the end of the decade, and the lunar module (the vehicle which carried Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin down to the lunar surface) also included multiple stainless steel parts. This was just some of the many ways in which stainless steel pushed our little planet forward into a new age of innovation with companies like Space X (see our last post about Elon Musk).
The image used shows the one man Mercury craft. Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space on an orbital flight. Alan Shepard became the first American in space on a suborbital flight three weeks later and then on May 5, 1961 John Glenn was the the third Mercury astronaut to fly.
Time for a terrible space themed joke.... where do aliens go for a drink? ..... the space bar !! and while there there you might just see one of our Stainless Steel Bar Sinks!