We’re living in an unprecedented age for space exploration, and Photo Solutions is proud to help power that discovery. Since the beginning of 2021, there have been over 50 successful orbit launches. These forays beyond Earth’s atmosphere require components specifically designed to withstand extreme temperature fluctuations and conditions. When it comes to advances in aerospace engineering and the role of photonic sensors in aerospace, Photo Solutions is a key player. 


Precision solutions for aerospace engineering 

Spacecraft, such as satellites, require materials that can withstand extreme conditions, like temperature swings and shock. They also need precision components for position, motion, and aiming functions. Photo Solutions creates optical encoder discs for aiming cameras and antennas on satellites. Satellites travel at approximately 17,000 miles per hour and can complete an orbit around the earth in 90 minutes. Since they are so close to the earth that they are stuck in its gravitational field, they travel five miles per second and need extremely durable materials to withstand such radical temperature changes. 

Encoder discs are installed onto motors to read signal feedback in order to generate a set of commands for the motor from applications like AI and ML. This type of messaging loop is critical for satellite navigation. Encoders help to measure the position and motion of the satellite as it charts its course in space. 


Fused silica or quartz for aerospace applications

While soda-lime glass is the most common choice for industrial applications, we use fused silica or quartz for space-specific applications. Despite being composited from various material types, glass still runs the risk of cracking. Glass is generally infused with other ingredients to lower its potential to melt. Fused silica has high melting and working temperatures. Both fused silica and quartz are closely related in their uses and properties, but silica tends to be superior due to its durability. In addition, fused silica is a rigid material that can withstand extreme temperature shifts. It also has the specific capability to transmit light in visible wavelengths, ultraviolet, and infrared range and is superior to other forms of glass. 

Our encoder discs come in these two options for aerospace: fused silica and quartz. For this and other industries, we make encoder discs to order for specific application needs. For example, the windows of manned spacecraft and the International Space Station are made from these materials. Strength, thermal stability, and UV transparency make it an excellent choice for aerospace engineering applications. 


Custom aerospace engineering solutions 

At our core, we view ourselves as a custom shop that supplies our client base with the particular materials their industry demands. To learn more about the materials and substrates we engineer, read more on our spec sheets. Photo Solutions has custom photonic solutions for your aerospace engineering needs.