Lightweighting the Final Frontier – and Beyond… From the Desk of LIFT CEO and Executive Director Nigel Francis

As we talk about lightweighting, we usually think of it in terms of automobiles and trucks – the vehicles we use every day and need to fuel up as we consider the cost of gasoline and how many miles per gallon we are getting. Sometimes we think about lightweighting in terms of airplane, but those already fly, so surely they are light enough, right? We might also think about trains, motorcycles, ships and even bicycles.

Rarely do we consider space as an opportunity for lightweighting. After all, Space Shuttle launches are things of the past and launching satellites into space aren’t “must-see TV’ either. However, what could possibly benefit from lightweighting more than rockets or satellites we are launching into orbit?

In fact, I was lucky enough to join a conference in northern Michigan recently, organized by the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association, which focused on the incredible number of rockets and satellites expected to be launched over the next several decades. Whether they are for our smartphone’s GPS or top-secret U.S. military use, the number of planned launches is set to grow dramatically.

As the U.S. military and federal government plan these programs and provide supportive funding around them, there is an opportunity for LIFT and our members to play a role in advancing the lightweighting technology to support those initiatives.

As you know, at LIFT, we pride ourselves on offering our members the opportunities for access, collaboration and innovation. Each of these attributes is reflected in the opportunities in the space industry. We will convene and assemble the teams to plan the strategies to create the programs which will innovate the future of space travel and manufacturing in the United States – you just need to have a seat at the table as a LIFT member.

If you are not a member and are considering membership, contact us to learn more about the benefits and membership tiers we offer and which is best for your organization.