Since its inception in 1965, Koro Industries has manufactured precision gears and other components for the aerospace industry. The descriptions below are highlights of some of the exciting projects in which we are and have been involved:
Photo Credit: NASA
In 1973, Koro was asked to manufacture replacement parts for NASA’s Skylab mission just a few weeks before the scheduled launch date. This replacement emergency was due to tooth breakage occurring on the original guidance system gears during testing. Initial material selection and the excessive vibration in the module proved to be problematic in the field. With little time to complete the work, Koro’s other production orders were temporarily put on hold until a solution for NASA could be realized. Within the two weeks allotted, Koro completed the replacement gears. Not only was production completed on time but the gears, when inspected, were found to be right in the middle of the tolerance on each critical gear feature. Skylab became the first U.S. space station and served as a scientific home base for research in space. It helped NASA study how astronauts could work in space and also to determine what problems humans would face in that challenging environment. Skylab was in orbit around the earth from 1973 to 1979 and hosted four different astronaut crews during its lifetime.
The Hubble Telescope
In 1993, Koro had the opportunity to produce gears for the famous “fix” of the Hubble Space Telescope. As launched, the telescope had a problem which caused all the images it sent back to earth to be blurry. (See before and after galaxy photo examples below.) In order to save the project, NASA designed and built an instrument, approximately the size of a telephone booth (remember those?) to correct a defect in Hubble’s main lens. Koro produced gears that helped the instrument refocus the light reflected off of the principal lens through a series of refractions. Once the instrument was installed by space shuttle Endeavor astronauts, the telescope started sending beautiful, clear images back to earth, the focus problem corrected. The magnificent images sent to us by Hubble have filled us all with awe as we contemplate the astounding expanse of the universe. The Hubble Telescope has provided invaluable scientific data to research for over 25 years and continues its mission today.
“This comparison image of the core of the galaxy M100 shows the dramatic improvement in the Hubble’s view of the universe after the first servicing mission in December 1993. The original view, taken a few days before the servicing mission, is on the left.”
– Caption from www.nasa.gov
Mars Rover Curiosity
In November of 2011, NASA launched a small rover into space, direction, the planet Mars. Over the next 9 months, Curiosity travelled 354 million miles to the red planet where it began an initial two Martian year program of scientific research. Curiosity has 17 cameras and uses Koro manufactured gears to help it focus 12 of those cameras. Still in operation, Curiosity continues to send photographs and scientific data back to earth. Functioning as its own laboratory, Curiosity conducts experiments to study the chemical composition of martian soil and to study the environment, looking for evidence that Mars has the necessary building blocks that could have, at one time, supported life. See NASA’s website for daily Curiosity updates.
Space Vehicle Separation System
Koro manufactures gears for an established product that deploys satellites into space without the use of pyrotechnics. This technology may be demonstrated to prospective customers safely and in a less restrictive environment than outer space. In January of this year, our customer came to the Koro Industries facility in order to demonstrate the product to our employees. “Counting T minus 10 seconds, 9, 8, 7,…”. We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see the space vehicle separation system in action and to learn more about the growing satellite industry.