Advances in mechanical engineering are happening at a staggering rate. It seems like there's a new development every day, and the latest comes from NASA. While it's still under development, the Orion spacecraft is set to replace the reliable, but old, Soyuz system. It's not just that the Soyuz's crew module is so confined that it doesn't allow any comfort, but it also can't go beyond low-Earth orbit.
The Orion is being prepared for Deep Space exploration, including getting humans to an asteroid in 2025 – and a future Mars mission will be one step closer. Also, the Orion will be able to accommodate 4 to 6 astronauts with a wide range of heights, since its crew module is 2.5 times the size of the Apollo's.
Orion might only be a 'space taxi', ferrying astronauts to and from space, but without it there would be no manned space missions. While building something as massive and complex as a spacecraft, it's important to think about the small details. Sure, Orion has to be built with massive pieces (like its primary structure, which is made of seven large aluminium segments that need to be welded together), but it can't function without the little ones.
These little components form the delicate parts of the shuttle. For example, in 2013 Orion's main computer was turned on for the very first time, and the scientists added a lot of wiring and electronics since then. More than 20 miles of wire were installed for this computer, so that it could perform its functions to perfection. Without this, the shuttle wouldn't even launch.
After the installation came the tests. The wires and the small pieces that make up the electronics of the shuttle need to be manufactured to an incredibly high standard, since once in space it's difficult to perform any maintenance procedures if the need arises. Repairs have to be few and far between. For example, one of Orion's components is a heat shield, which serves to protect the shuttle and the crew from temperatures higher than 2000oC during re-entry in the atmosphere. And if even one of the main computer's small components malfunctions, it could have disastrous results.
So while at European Springs we can't help you build a spacecraft, we can certainly provide some of its components. We're not only wire form manufacturers, but we also supply high quality gas springs and bespoke pressings.
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