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Astronaut in Space above Earth

Welding In Space, The Final Frontier

   Steven Hawking, renowned British astrophysicist warns the planet Earth is quickly running out of resources, and in order for mankind to survive beyond the next century, our only hope is outer space.

   Welding was first performed in space 25 years ago by Russian cosmonauts. They spent three and a half hours in outer space cutting and welding (electron beam welding) pieces of metal, including aluminum, titanium, and stainless steel. The universal space welding machine was designed by Electrical Welding Institute, Kiev. For more than 10 years, the scientists were developing this complicated instrument.

   Welding in space presents several safety challenges such as, protecting astronauts space suits from possible burn-through, and as well, welding in space has some advantages such as, no welding flux, or shielding gas is required.

   Welding in outer space as a career may not be that far off in the future, and is a possible avenue our next generation of welders need to consider.

Written by Brian Chalmers

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