Our SpaceX Falcon 9-inspired pen set might have been our first step, but it was only the beginning of a longer journey. It gave us confidence to see how we could integrate our passion for Space with other products we love. Simple, minimalist and timeless design resonates with us too, and so we thought there could be a way to create accessories that draw these two threads together.
In 2009 Elon Musk proposed a characteristically novel idea for a sea-worthy floating platform on to which he would land and recover his SpaceX rockets at sea. This sort of autonomous spaceport drone ship was completely new and, as with most of Elon’s ideas, was immediately deemed crazy and unworkable. But, after many mishaps and design changes, in April 2016 SpaceX landed a first stage rocket booster perfectly on the drone and recovered it fully to port. From then on autonomous drone ships became an iconic and critical part of the SpaceX ecosystem – proving Elon’s gut instinct right, once again. In keeping with their quirky beginnings, each drone is named after a book by the Scottish science fiction author, Iain M. Banks. The most recent ship to deploy was “A shortfall of Gravitas” or ASOG for short, into the Atlantic, about 300 miles from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
From our rather biased design perspective, when we first saw the drone ship, we saw a beautifully stylized case for a wireless phone charger. For ease, we decided to make it compatible with the Apple Magsafe recharger. Precision machined in black anodised, aircraft grade aluminium, our version of a drone ship can recharge your phone at your desk, or land your Falcon 9 pen, when not in use. We use soft touch acrylic on the two faces to minimize any induction interference during charging. To make it uniquely yours, we also invite you to create your own quirky name or novel that we will engrave for you, on the platform itself.
Recovering a booster is one thing, but a fairing – the cabin that actually carries the astronauts or cargo into orbit – is quite another. The boosters never reach orbit and so their re-entry speeds are far lower and don’t face the same level of heat on re-entry. The fairings, however, can be entering the atmosphere at Mach 25 – 19,000 miles per hour! Without protection, they would be toast! For Starship, SpaceX developed a unique, light-weight ceramic hexagonal tile heat shield reminiscent of the Space Shuttle. The tessellated hexagons help prevent straight fault lines appearing across the shield, and map beautifully around the curved body of Starship.
We liked this tessellated pattern very much and so developed a small, hexagonal case, compatible with an Apple Airtag. Something to have on your keys, throw into a bag or attach to something you care about and want to track. Machined in black anodised aluminium, the case is very carefully designed to ensure the sound attenuation is negligible whilst protecting the Airtag. The lid uses a practical and cunning rotational magnetic lock to keep the Airtag safe whilst making it easy to use.
For those lucky enough to have an iPhone 13 we developed a simple phone cover, featuring the tessellation design in a soft touch but hardwearing polymer. Once the tiles have been manually checked and deemed compliant, a little ‘OK’ in white is chalked into the top corner of the tile … we rather liked this touch and incorporated it on to the phone cover.
Our journey continues…