“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Those infamous words, uttered half a century ago by astronaut Neil Armstrong upon stepping foot on the moon, are still remembered and revered — especially today, the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11.
On July 16, 1969, Armstrong, along with fellow astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, blasted off at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a journey to the moon. Four days later, while Collins helmed the command module, Armstrong and Aldrin landed Apollo 11’s lunar module, Eagle, on the moon, making history as the first humans to set foot on the lunar surface.
In honor of this historic event’s anniversary, we thought we’d let you in on a little secret about the Apollo 11 landing: Nyalic was there. That’s right, our high-performance, hard-coat resin was developed specifically to protect the interior of the spacecraft from the extreme conditions of outer space. And not only did we make it to the moon; we beat out 300 other formulas for the opportunity to do so.
Here’s the story.
Back in the sixties, America’s race to the moon created an intense demand for technological advancement in alloys and coatings because of the harsh conditions of space travel. From the intense cold and ultraviolet radiation to the heat of re-entry and the expected corrosion caused after a saltwater splashdown, these vehicles had to withstand extremes never before experienced on earth.
“They needed it to be lightweight,” explained Skip Hawkins, CEO of Nyalic. “The weight limit on a spacecraft is limited. They also needed it to be clear so that they could see beneath it, they needed it to protect against corrosion, and they needed something that could withstand some pretty significant temperature changes.”
During the development of the Apollo space capsule, North American Rockwell solicited chemical companies and independent chemists to create a protective coating for extruded aluminum and magnesium components of the spacecraft. Rockwell subjected over 300 different coatings to a battery of tests to determine which one would best meet its performance parameters. Nyalic came out on top.
After considerable R&D, Nyalic’s unique formulation was developed using a blend of several polymeric resins that appeared to exhibit the properties that Rockwell was seeking: a coating that was very durable yet flexible, withstood UV rays, prevented corrosion and oxidation, and performed at a film thickness as low as five microns. After intense and careful evaluation, Nyalic was chosen and used not only on the Apollo command module but on the Lunar Rover as well.
Nyalic: A piece of American history.
The story of Nyalic and Apollo 11 is significant not only because we landed on the moon, but because it represents the American way. Many small businesses and entrepreneurs, including Nyalic, used their ingenuity, work ethic, and freedom to create innovative solutions to daunting problems.
“Nyalic helped put a man on the moon,” said Hawkins, “and that’s pretty significant. Today, the product endures. It still works as good as the day it was invented.”
Want to learn more about how Nyalic works? Read about it here.