We see our possible futures through the eyes of science fiction writers. Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea stretched the limits of imagination. Now it passes without notice on nuclear subs. Anyone with the money can fly around the world in two or three days, never mind the 80-day challenge that astounded Victorian readers. H.G. Wells wrote of time travel, invisibility, and genetically modified organisms a century before we knew about DNA. Now demonstration projects are showing early attempts at invisibility and physics has demonstrated at least one form of time travel is possible.
The inspiration for the International Space Station floating around in low orbit dates to the writings of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in the late 1800s, then Von Braun demonstrated a model in the 1950s that eventually served as a model for Clarke’s vision in A Space Odyssey:2001 released in 1968. First introduced to kids around the world in 1931, the miracle man of comic strip gadgets, Dick Tracy, popularized so many gadgets for children including the wristwatch-phone. Today we have a much more powerful smartwatch for kids and adults alike. Star Trek showed us the universal translator which Google is now perfecting. Countless other inventions began in the imagination of science fiction writers: artificial intelligence, flexible screens, microscopic machines, driverless cars, and virtual reality -the list goes on.
It might take centuries for an idea to move from fiction to fact, but move they do. What starts as a flicker in an author’s mind becomes a spark in a reader’s imagination. They may spend their life working on the idea, and never achieve it, but that’s not failure. Invariably they’ll move us closer to the goal.
That’s one of the amazing aspects of these times we live in. Truly astonishing advances in manufacturing and materials science are accelerating our future. Many of the things we do routinely today at MacFab Manufacturing were pure fantasy when we began operations. The tolerances provided by Swiss turning and micro machining beggar belief, but it’s those tolerances that make these new developments possible. Developments in metal chemistry has brought new alloys with amazing properties that, again, make these new machines possible.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the CubeSat industry. Space makes everything difficult. When the first CubeSat was launched in 2003, MacFab Manufacturing already had a lot of experience in the field. Partnering with the brightest engineers, designers, and scientists, MacFab provided extensive research and development, as well as technical, design, and financial support to move the technology forward.
Now, satellites are smaller and more powerful than ever, with tighter tolerances, more precision machining, specialty finishes and plating, and specialty materials. MacFab specializes in manufacturing components and assemblies for small satellites. From concept to prototype to production, our extensive space-faring library includes gyroscopic reaction wheels and assemblies, sensor housings, propulsion nozzles, radiators, frames, manifolds, hinges, telescope and camera frames, xPods, release rings, latches, fuel cells and more. MacFab provides the resources and expertise to move the parts from drawing to highly specialized components for the newest generations of satellites.
Those satellites are used for so many things that used to be science fiction. Our partners use them for monitoring climate change, greenhouse and atmospheric changes, earth and environmental monitoring, agricultural optimization, maritime awareness, emergency and disaster response, security, defence, and the two most of us use every day, GPS and mobile communication. It’s difficult to imagine what our lives would be like today without all of these things.
The next time you see a launch, notice how many satellites they’re releasing from that one rocket. It’s not one or two; it could be over a hundred. You can bet MacFab manufactured parts and assemblies, specialty cleaning and finishes are on board. We’re extremely proud of the work we do to bring to life the ideas of the dreamers and the engineers. Every job we tackle increases our knowledge and makes MacFab that much better. We use what was once science fiction to enable tomorrow’s science fact.
Our job is bringing the future forward through experience and know-how. Welcome to the future of space!