The future of mankind may lie in space. The human desire to explore and advances in science and technology have opened the door to exciting, if cautious, next step for humans out into our solar system and possibly beyond. From engineering and design to implementation in the field, tools, including fabric aircraft hangars, are participating in bringing about the age of interplanetary travel.
Elon Musk’s Quest for Space Travel
One man who has dedicated his life to advancing commercial space flight is entrepreneur Elon Musk. His SpaceX rockets are the cutting edge transport of the future, built to be sturdy, safe, reusable and reliable space transport. SpaceX aims to provide vehicles to meet a range of needs in space, from cargo delivery to the space station to long haul, human-manned trips to Mars. Musk’s entrepreneurial, passionate embrace of commercial space exploration has excited scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, adventurers and space enthusiasts around the world.
“In almost any motor transport — whether it’s a plane or car, a horse, or bicycle — it’s reusable,” Musk said. “If you could use a car only once, very few people could afford to drive a car. So the critical breakthrough that’s necessary is a rapidly reusable orbital rocket.”
“That is the Holy Grail of space,” he said.
In practical terms, achieving the ability to make interplanetary travel achievable and affordable requires a vehicle that can be used over and over again. Such a design and engineering task requires a huge amount of information, engineering and teamwork, as well as the right environments in which inspired teams can build, troubleshoot and deploy the equipment to carry people and cargo safely beyond the gravitational pull of the earth. Staying in space and continuing to explore further from home will require the ability to deliver success, time after time, at an affordable and achievable price.
Fabrics Made for Space
Of course, it takes more than dreams to get into space. A lot of resources, engineering, testing and fine tuning go into each design, build and test flight. Because of the harsh environment of outer space and the extreme stresses put on the space vehicle as it exits and reenters the Earth’s atmosphere, reaching the goal of interplanetary travel requires special materials to protect astronauts and vehicles from temperature extremes. Materials must be able to resist damage from space dust and debris that bombards vehicles at high speed. Materials are needed that help protect from solar radiation, reflect UV radiation and assist in coping in a zero gravity environment.
Pioneers and Innovators in Space Fabrics
ChemFab pioneered some of the early fabrics in the early days of space exploration, working on projects with NASA in the manned space flight program of the 1960’s. Even NASA itself, as with this 3-D printed metallic fabric prototype, experiments in advanced “space fabrics”. New materials for new uses are always in the pipeline and are helping to drive experimentation and advances in the next stage of space travel.
Bigelow Aerospace of Las Vegas deployed the first expandable fabric habitat, the BEAM (Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) to the space station where it is still providing important and comfortable usable extra space for the astronauts.
Fabric Aircraft Hangars for Aerospace Work on the Ground
Even if it does not require design for use in outer space (yet), there is always a need for spacious, protected workspace on the ground for aerospace development and testing work to go forward. Fabric aircraft hangars also known as tension fabric structures, due to the tensioning of heavy-duty fabric over a high-strength, curved frame to create an extremely strong and sturdy structure, are part of the portfolio available for use in advanced aviation projects. Their special UV and chemical resistant PVC plastic over an engineered extruded aluminum frame provides, quickly and easily, an enclosed, climate-protected, comfortable work environment anywhere it’s needed.
Fabric aviation hangars may be seen around airstrips and aviation test sites. That’s because, like Musk’s envisioned fleet of rockets, they are ready at short notice, reliable and reusable, providing hangar-size space, high clearance and clear span floor space for almost any aviation-related usage.
Versatile Space and Built to Last: Fabric Aircraft Hangars
Working in a cutting edge environment like space travel requires resources, drive and courage. Elon Musk has brought all three to the quest to conquer interplanetary travel. He recently gave an update in this BBC article on his prototype starship and heavy rocket systems for his planned mission to Mars.
In the photo of the Boca Chica, TX launch site in the BBC article, behind the SpaceX behemoth MK1 rocket, stands a fabric aircraft hangar, the Allsite Tension Fabric Structure (TFS). Like Musk’s rockets, the TFS is a durable, sturdy and reusable structure that can be used as an aircraft hangar, engineering bay, warehouse, testing facility or manufacturing space so that work may go on day or night and in any kind of weather, protecting equipment and work crews from wind, rain, sleet and snow, and providing lit work space in the dark of night.
Fabric Aircraft Hangar Versatile Permanent or Temporary Building Solution
The Allsite fabric aircraft hangar is designed for quick deployment and reuse, to deliver value over an extended lifetime. Unlike traditionally built hangars, it does not require the time and expense of pouring a foundation. It can be equipped with HVAC, lighting, even truss systems for overhead work in short order. Designed with an advanced design extruded aluminum frame, the structure is easy to transport and can be installed quickly so that it is functional and delivering service quickly to keep projects on track.
Tension fabric structures are a tool that has been providing reliable work space in the aviation and other industries exactly when and where it’s needed. Advanced, energy efficient, recyclable and highly durable modular structures, TFS can be installed and fulfill indoor space needs at test sites, on airfields or on corporate or university campuses or at government installations as additional hangar space. They are one more space age tool available to cutting edge entrepreneurs competing to break new barriers in space travel and exploration.
For more information on Allsite’s TFS for aerospace, aviation, industrial, manufacturing or warehousing needs, contact Allsite today.