In the race to the moon between the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R., hundreds of billions of dollars will be spent in the next decade or so on projects which, only a few years ago, would have sounded like things existing only in science fiction. For the wise investor, this is a good thing because it opens up one more investment field.
Leading this dramatic journey into space are companies mostly operating in the aircraft-turned-missile industry. It's rather ironic that the nation's most glamorous projects are predominantly in the hands of companies with their bread-and-butter business formerly or still in building planes, the very opposite of glamour. That's why the new Space Age has opened up exciting but highly speculative industry horizons.
For instance, plane-making Republic Aviation recently dedicated its $14 million complex of space-oriented laboratories, Paul Moore Research Development Center. This center contains laboratories for space environment and life sciences, re-entry stimulation, materials development, nuclear radiation, guidance and control systems, fluid systems and electronics.
The center has wind tunnels capable of simulating flight conditions from 400 miles an hour to more than 19,500 miles an hour. A space altitude chamber is capable of testing people and space capsules at simulated altitudes of 150 miles.
Equally prominent in leading the nation's exotic projects are such erstwhile or current plane makers as Martin, Boeing, North American Aviation and Northrop. However, some market experts like such small new outfits as Edgerton, Germehausen & Grier, Wyle Laboratories and Associated Testing Laboratories.
EG & G, said Spear & Staff's Susan E. Gildersleeve in her A Decade of Science and Discovery; "Has distinguished itself by designing and producing systems to control and record phenomena in the submillimicrosecond range; that is, the time it takes light to travel less than two inches. Excellence in this critical area has given EG & G a virtual monopoly on the control and instrumentation of all our atomic: since 1947 under prime contract to the Atomic Energy Commission."
Wyle Laboratories operates the largest independent laboratory in the United States for testing under simulated extreme environmental conditions, rocket propellant systems and components (both solid and liquid), which account for 75 percent of its business.
Another growing factor in the out-of-this-world testing is Associated Testing Laboratories which is engaged in the science of environment testing. This means the testing of missile, aircraft and rocket components and systems for performance under simulated conditions of operation. In Associated, experts see a growth situation in which the greatest capital gains can be accomplished after the initial move has been made, but before the major advance takes place.
Mr. Richard Slawsky in Richard Slawsky Reports called Associated "one of the fastest growing companies in environment testing," an industry he termed the "science of make-believe."
In this science world of make-believe, the study of what happens to matter and energy under conditions of extreme cold is gaining rapid importance. It is called "cryogenics." It may well be one of the hottest things in science and industry.