Switches In Space

Switches in Space

Amidst the Twitter turmoil surrounding Elon Musk, his private space exploration company, SpaceX, will be launching four astronauts into space at 3:52 a.m. EDT early Wednesday morning from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Crew Dragon capsule, “Freedom,” will dock with the International Space Station for the astronauts’ six-month stay aboard the ISS.

The name of the capsule isn’t just a shout out to the Freedom 7, which carried Alan Shepard, the first American launched into space on May 5, 1961. Musk has said his $44 billion purchase of Twitter is to protect freedom of speech.

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in a statement Monday. “Twitter has tremendous potential — I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

Musk’s purchase of Twitter would make a public company private, which might be good for business. Twitter has rapidly cycled through CEOs and has struggled to monetize its user base and spark growth. Twitter stock was up nearly six percent after the announcement of the deal, trading just below Musk’s offer price.

Twitter adds a potential marketing arm to Musk’s billion-dollar business empire, which includes the aforementioned SpaceX, the broadband internet company and division of SpaceX, Starlink, the electric vehicle manufacturer, Tesla, and Neuralink, the company developing a chip that would allow humans to control electronic devices with their thoughts.

Elon Musk shows off some of the switches inside the Dragon capsule. Photo by SpaceX.

All of these companies have one thing in common: switches. Even the electronic devices humans will someday control with their minds will require on/off switches, or reset switches at the very least. The SpaceX Dragon capsule that will carry the astronauts to the International Space Station features many switches E-switch can provide, so while you’ve got the checkbook out, consider these switches for your next space capsule, Mr. Musk.

Judging from the photos taken inside the Dragon capsule, it seems the most popular switch used in space is the illuminated pushbutton switch. The cold depths of space must demand a switch that operates at a large range of temperatures, and our ULP Series illuminated pushbutton switch operates in temperatures ranging from -40 to 85°C. This pushbutton switch comes with five different cap options in two different colors. Two LED colors can also be chosen, as well as an RGB option that doesn’t require a second LED.

For vertical or right angle mounting, the LP4 Series illuminated pushbutton switch provides both options. The right angle PCB mountable switch is only available with a square cap and bezel, but the vertical PCB mountable switch allows for a round cap to be used with or without bezel. The LP4 Series pushbutton switches perform both latching and momentary functions with a double-pole, double-throw (DPDT) circuit. LED colors include red, green, yellow, blue, and white. 

So send us to space, Mr. Musk. Well, send our switches to space. That goes for you, too, NASA. We know you’ve got eight planetary science missions planned. E-switch was a proud sponsor the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hyperloop team, and would be proud to provide SpaceX and NASA astronauts with reliable switches to allow for further exploration and understanding of the final frontier. 

International Space Station with solar charging panels flies in outer space against starlight. 3D render animation. Science and technology concept. Elements of this media furnished by NASA.