The Lee Company provided a specially calibrated, screened restrictor to control oxygen flow to the astronauts from their backpack when they walked on the moon in 1969. Though a much smaller company at the time, Lee had a unique skill in manufacturing and testing such restrictors. Our employees and management took great pride in helping the successful and historic mission, a pride that continues to this day.
Lee Plugs flew to space as early as 1961 on the Atlas Rocket and again on the Saturn rocket used to reach the moon. Available in many sizes and materials to seal cross-drilled holes, a unique Beryllium Copper Lee Plug was specially designed for installation into copper manifolds to safely control flow from liquid oxygen tanks to the engines of launch vehicles.
Multiple Lee components served critical functions on systems throughout the Space Shuttle. This included applications in the main engine, flight controls system and cabin accessories.
Launch vehicles require dozens of check valves throughout first and second stage propulsion systems. Lee Chek Valves offer high flow in small package sizes. For the space industry, The Lee Company has designed line mount configurations utilizing custom polymeric valve seats compatible with hypergolic fluids that eliminate leakage in high temperature and pressure environments.
The Lee Company has supplied components used on the International Space Station. Titanium safety screens were required in the waste system to avoid corrosion and specially calibrated Lee Visco Jets are used in the water processing and oxygen generation systems. Lee Products were also found on the vehicles used for the commercial resupply missions.
Lee components have traveled into deep space. Special pressure relief valves were designed in to the Cassini–Huygens space-research mission, a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency to send a probe to study the planet Saturn and its system.
Lee Jets, Lee Bender Jets or Lee Visco Jets are used on all major US-made launch vehicles since the 1960’s. The products range from commercial off-the-shelf items to custom material restrictors, calibrated on nitrogen for extremely low flow and tight flow tolerances and cleaned in our ISO class 5 clean room.
The Lee Company began supplying components for satellite propulsion decades ago. With the new focus on LEO constellations, Lee offers a range of products ideal for these systems, including fill valves, safety screens for last chance filtration, solenoid valves to open tank flow and restrictors to meter flow. Most uniquely, the IEP Series solenoid valve is a miniature high speed design ideal for metering gases used in electronic propulsion of small and medium sized satellites.
The environments experienced from launch through operation in space have pushed The Lee Company to expand capabilities for custom safety screens, including larger screens, smaller filtration ratings, higher burst pressures and custom materials. One example is a 25 micron HiBar safety screen with a burst and collapse rating exceeding 16,500 psid used in a manned capsule.
The Lee Company helped the crew of Apollo 11 launch, land, walk on the moon, and return home. And the journey has extended to virtually every space mission before and since Apollo. When astronauts return to the moon, we will almost certainly be right there with them. That day will mark the dawn of a new era, but for all of us at The Lee Company, we’ll be working on familiar ground.