The Rex Gauge Company worked with engineers at both Lockheed Martin and NASA for over a year in the development of a custom durometer (hardness gauge), which could be used by astronauts during spacewalks. The gauge would be needed to test a new experimental repair technique for the damaged thermal protection tiles of space shuttles.
Creating a custom gauge that could endure the extreme elements of outer space as well as remain simple enough for an astronaut to use while in their bulky space suit was a challenge. In order to perform in the critical conditions which are experienced during a spacewalk, the durometer needed to pass rigorous testing in simulated space environments to prove that it could withstand the vacuum and extreme temperatures that range anywhere from 150 degrees below zero to 150 degrees on the plus side of the Fahrenheit scale.
Rex Gauge manufactured the final NASA approved gauge in 2005 and named it the SG-5000 (a.k.a. Space Gauge). While some of the gauge components were derived from a standard Rex Gauge dial durometer, the SG-5000 had a custom lightweight ventilated housing with an extra large dial for easy readability and a special finish to allow the gauge to be handled in the extreme temperature ranges.
The SG-5000 durometer as pictured was taken aboard Discovery during the Space Shuttle Mission STS-114 on July 26th, 2005.
The Rex Gauge team is extremely proud to be a contributor in the NASA Return to Flight effort.
Rex Gauge durometer recognized as a Certified Space Technology
The Space Foundation announced November 1, 2005 that the Rex Gauge Company’s custom durometer SG-5000 is officially recognized as a Certified Space Technology™. The SG-5000 was flown aboard Space Shuttle Mission STS-114 to enable astronauts to test an experimental technique developed to repair thermal protection tiles that may have sustained damage during lift off.
The Rex Gauge Company of Buffalo Grove, Ill., worked with engineers at Lockheed Martin and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop a durometer that could endure the extreme conditions of outer space while remaining easy to use. Durometers measure the hardness of rubber, plastic, and other non-metallic materials.
“The Space Foundation is pleased to certify the SG-5000 durometer,” said Kevin C. Cook, Vice President Marketing & Communications for the Space Foundation. “We applaud the Rex Gauge Company for its innovation in creating technology that can withstand the rigors of space exploration.”
Since the dawn of the space era, the world’s best engineers at NASA have been developing advanced technologies that fuel America’s efforts in space and also result in a number of earthly applications. The Space Certification Program, managed by the Space Foundation, provides official recognition for qualified products and services incorporating those space technologies. For more information, visit www.SpaceConnection.org.
Thanks again for supporting our space program!
Kevin C. Cook
Vice President Marketing & Communications