In focus… Industrial gases and space exploration


Driving down the American freeway it was the 10-story tall NASA insignia adorning the side of the space agency’s iconic Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) that signalled I had arrived at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has long served as America’s spaceport, hosting all of the federal government’s manned spaceflights since the late 1960s. I was lucky enough to get a special invite to go behind the scenes and visit the Cryogenics Test Laboratory in November and hear about the vital role industrial gases play in space exploration.

“Oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and helium: these gases, and their liquefied forms of storage and handling, are the driver for the entire space enterprise. It’s not possible without them,” James Fesmire, Senior Principal Investigator and founder of the Cryogenics Test Laboratory at NASA Kennedy Space Center, told me.

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