From the Mercury Program to Mars, Apollo to Artemis, the Space Shuttle to SpaceX, elastomers, in all their earthly iterations, have found a home in air and space.
Even the 19th-century origins of rubber, where vulcanization finds its etymology in the term Vulcan, the Roman god of fire, demonstrate that the compound perhaps always had aspirations beyond terra firma.
Indeed, rubber, plastics, silicones and every polymer in between have made air and space travel possible, from the textile fabric fashioned to the airfoil of the Wright Flyer to the fabric fashioned around the Goodyear Blimp.
In this issue, we will take a look at the tiniest cross-section of polymers in aerospace, five instances over five decades when such material truly has been out of this world.
In each issue leading up to our special 50th Anniversary issue on Aug. 9, we'll present a new list of 5. When that arrives, you'll have a total of 50 things that have helped to define the rubber industry's last five decades.