40 Success Stories: W. L. Gore’s Cables Helped Put Men on the Moon

Image via W. L. Gore & Associates

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of APEX EXPO this year, APEX Media is looking back at its members’ most significant achievements. Today, we explore how W. L. Gore & Associates’ cables traveling to outer space meant the company was already prepared to cater for the specific requirements of the aircraft cabin. 

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2019 marks 50 years since the Apollo 11 spaceflight that resulted in Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin becoming the first men to walk on the moon, an achievement in which APEX member W. L. Gore & Associates (Gore) played a key role.

For starters, the company’s MULTI-TET ribbon cables were used in the two Apollo Guidance Computers that navigated and control the spacecraft. According to Gore, it took approximately 10,500 keystrokes to get to the Moon and back.

Gore has been a part of more than 100 spaceflight programs, such as the Space Shuttle Program, International Space Station, and Hubble Space Telescope; all with a 100% failure-free record.

NASA also used 50-foot long flat copper conductor cables manufactured by Gore to connect seismographic equipment to the lunar lander. Formed of many layers laminated together, the outer layer used a Kapton polyimide film with a melting temperature above 300°C that protected the inner layers from the lunar surface and from radiation. Gore believes its cabling is still working on the moon today.

In total, Gore has been a part of more than 100 spaceflight programs, such as the Space Shuttle Program, International Space Station, and Hubble Space Telescope; all with a 100% failure-free record. Its products have also played a role in missions to Pluto, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars.

Success in space paved the way for Gore to develop innovative solutions for in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) on commercial aircraft. For instance, Gore’s Leaky Feeder Antennas keep passengers connected to airborne Wi-Fi, while its  family of Ethernet and fiber optic cables transmit fast, reliable data on airborne digital networks.

In 2018, W. L. Gore & Associates celebrated the 60thanniversary of the company’s inception.

See more posts from the 40 Success Stories campaign.