Glenair: The Most Trusted Name in Manned Space Connectors and Cables

Sector:

Space

Products Used:

Interconnect Technology for Manned Space Flight

Result:

Space Grade Interconnect Solutions

Glenair’s history of interconnect innovation for manned space applications began with our design and fabrication role in the realization of the golden umbilical life-support cable used by Commander Ed White in the first American Gemini Program space walk in 1965. This was a complex cable assembly with an exacting set of performance requirements. Even though this application is now over 50 years old, it still reflects Glenair’s unique skill set as both a manufacturer of high-performance connectors and wire protection products as well as a provider of turnkey assemblies incorporating Glenair signature interconnect technology. Complex interconnect cable assemblies made by Glenair have travelled to and from orbit dozens of times on the Space Shuttle, and we were also responsible for producing the long-length umbilical cables used on the Titan II launch vehicle for all twelve Gemini missions. For this application, Glenair developed some truly unique fabrication fixtures and processes to complete this unique cable build.

Interconnect Technology for Manned Space Flight

Project Details

A Select History of Glenair Connectors and Backshells in Manned Space Flight Applications Glenair discrete interconnect designs and technologies have been a part of manned space flight for these past 50+ years. And, as mentioned, we have demonstrated capability in-house to integrate our many unique and signature interconnect technologies into turnkey systems and assemblies. In each of the following examples, Glenair performed exactly in this manner, acting not merely as a supplier, but as an application engineering and design partner to these landmark programs.

Glass-Sealed Hermetic for the X-38 Crew Return Vehicle - Glenair supplied specialized glass-sealed hermetic connectors to The X-38 program, an experimental autonomous spacecraft designed and built for the purposes of shuttling space crew back to Earth in an orbital emergency. Glenair has been an essential go-to supplier and design partner for hermetically-sealed connectors on space flight programs since the 1980s.

QwikClamp® Backshells for the International Space Station - The Glenair QwikClamp® backshell was purpose-designed for use on the ISS. Select parts were gold plated for resistance to atomic oxygen corrosion and radiation damage, others were supplied in our “M” code electroless nickel plating. All designs were equipped with a unique strain relief clamp that eliminated sharp surfaces and angles to prevent potential damage to astronaut life support space suits and gloves. Here is astronaut Thomas D. Jones in 2001 during STS-98 out on an EVA. The cable assemblies in the shot are all equipped with these unique Glenair backshells.

Sav-Con® Connector Savers for the Space Shuttle orbiter - Glenair Sav-Con® connector savers have been on every major manned space program—from Gemini to the Space Shuttle. One of the most dramatic applications of this space-grade connector go-between was on the Space Shuttle orbiter where they provided protection for the umbilical connectors from lift-off to touchdown on every mission

Distance Gives Perspective It’s been well over 50 years since the Apollo 8 spacecraft put astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders in orbit around the moon. In all the excitement that led up to that flight, I most recall the buzz about seeing the dark side of the lunar landscape for the first time in human history. What a revelation it was that the biggest take-away from Apollo 8 instead turned out to be the iconic “Earthrise” photograph that so dramatically captured our own planet rising above the lunar landscape. Bill Anders had a line that perfectly captured the moment, “We came to explore the moon and what we discovered was the Earth.”

Christopher J. Toomey - Glenair President.

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Christopher J. Toomey - Glenair President.

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