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Celebrating the 50th anniversary of moon landing

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Allplastics Engineering is marking the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing with a special selection of materials and finishes with lunar connections.

The Gemini and Apollo programs inspired several scientific discoveries in space and on earth. These include shock absorbing athletic shoes, translucent Teflon coated retractable roofing fabric, firefighting breathing apparatus, solar panels, chlorine free pools and heart monitors.

NASA’s moon landing endeavour was achieved not only with high performance rockets, powerful propellants and billions of dollars in research but also with materials such as engineering plastics, which have performed a crucial role throughout the history of space flight, allowing astronauts to view their surroundings, breathe oxygen easier and travel more comfortably in orbit around the blue planet or on the way to the moon.

Plastics are often lighter than other materials such as steel or aluminium. The selection of lighter polymers allows rockets and spacecraft to get off the ground more efficiently and cost effectively using less rocket fuel. Plastic seals, flooring, instrument panels and seats are among the many plastic parts that have made spacecraft lighter and more manoeuvrable.

One prominent example of plastic in space is the polycarbonate lenses used in the helmets of spacesuits. Polycarbonate is shatterproof with 250 times the strength of glass. While standard polycarbonate is easily scratched, a special coating is used to make lenses mar resistant on visors, windows and portals, allowing astronauts to view their surroundings clearly. Astronaut visors also have a thin layer of gold to protect their eyes from unfiltered sunlight in space.

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