My name is Brayden DeVito and I am a Manufacturer of Space hardware
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been dreaming about Space and the vehicles that take us there. It all started with a field trip in the 2nd grade to Rocketdyne in Canoga Park, California. At the ripe young age of 7 years old, I was exposed to assemblies of rocket engines, and the machines that were building the parts that went into them. My mind exploded with the possibilities of becoming an astronaut, a space mechanic, rocket scientist, you name it!
After seeing my first aerospace manufacturing shop, I immediately did what any 7 year old would do to get involved in manufacturing space vehicles, and I started building lego space ships, model rockets, and filling my school science projects with glowing stars and Styrofoam solar systems.
It wasn’t long until I was old enough to get a job in the field I long dreamed of. My journey in the aerospace field started from the ground, in a sheet metal fabrication shop in Irwindale, California. There I learned how to read blueprints and how to make precision parts out of raw materials. My undying curiosity lured me to the light; the Laser light that is. I began learning many aspects of laser processing such as Laser etching and Laser welding, because what’s cooler than melting metal together with Laser beams?
During my climb up the Aerospace Manufacturing ladder, in 2010 I applied to a small company in Hawthorne, California called SpaceX. I was hired as a Laser Technologist and was part of the Quality department taking care of final inspection of rocket hardware. I spent many lunches walking around the facility and looking at all the rockets and assemblies being built. A true sight to behold! I am honored say I was a part of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Flight 2 (COTS-C1) mission, the first Dragon capsule to orbit earth and return safely. The Dragon capsule didn't fly empty handed: I was awarded this mission patch that actually flew onboard the Dragon spacecraft and it is part of my most prized possessions!
After my time at SpaceX, I landed at a smaller aerospace manufacturing shop in Pasadena, California that takes care of all of NASA JPL’s auxiliary machining and welding jobs in house. When JPL had a vacuum leak problem within their Mars InSight Lander, they came to us for aid: I designed multiple holding fixtures and helped generate all of their weld specifications and machine parameters to meet their stringent deadline to get the lander safely to Mars.
It is a great pleasure to devote my skills and expertise to Space Decentral and change the way we collaborate to get everyone involved in space and beyond. But, why does Space Decentral matter to me? As a working professional in the aerospace industry for 13 years, I’ve noticed that a lot of current manufacturing shops tend to be closed off in terms of innovation, and are mostly exclusive, private companies with proprietary products and manufacturing techniques. Space Decentral has launched a platform to drive a way of life that very closely straddles the open source ideologies that is most prevalent in software technology industries these days. I believe that this ideology should transfer into the aerospace industry, especially in terms of manufacturing and design. We are constantly trying to re-innovate many designs that have already been proven to work since the 60’s. If we begin to create a repository of open source hardware, we could focus our efforts on aspects of space travel that still require deeper R&D and be more efficient with our use of time and resources pooled into these efforts.
One project on the Space Decentral network that I am most excited about is Space Cooperative Manufacturing Labs (SCML). It is the concept of a contemporary ‘fab lab’ based on the latest digital machine tools intended to serve the R&D prototyping needs of Space Decentral projects while supporting itself as a commercial contract fabrication facility. It would be open to the typical range of Maker-oriented services while also cultivating more advanced fabrication capability suited to aerospace and other advanced applications.
In collaboration with fellow Space Decentral member Suzi Bianco, we have come up with building plans and generated some images of what this future facility might look like!
In conclusion, Space Decentral is important to me because we are the foundation for innovation in the quest for the cosmos. With facilities like SCML being conceptualized within the network, I feel that some day, future generations of aspiring aerospace engineers will visit this facility and be influenced much like I was as a young mind.