Reaching outer limits with NASA

By Jong Arcano Philippine Daily Inquirer May 01,2019

From left, X1R Philippines president Brixton Aw, X-1R Corporation COO for the United States Jeff Ketchledge, Space Foundation program coordinator Rebecca Williams, X-1R president Terry Craig, X-1R PH chief finance officer Bernice Aw and Nigel McKenzie, Global COO of X-1R Global.

Brixton Aw was barely in his teens when the earliest awareness campaign of a lubricant called X1-R started running on Home Shopping TV in the United States. At that time, the product was already riding the success of a unique formulation it worked on with the National Space Administration that found its way to the powerful engines of the cars competing in the Nascar and other major US races.

At that time, the product was already riding the success of a unique formulation it worked on with the National Space Administration that found its way to the powerful engines of the cars competing in the Nascar and other major US races.

“We all know that Home Shopping TV then was an alternative venue for those wanting to get into the mainstream, the small players who are testing the market so to speak,” says Aw.

He hardly paid any attention to pitches on X1-R made by random, ordinary people.

Little did Aw know that he would one day become the top dog of a company distributing what has become one of the most popular lubricants in the  world as evidenced by its wide network of clientele.

One of the early RS-25 engines used for the Space Shuttles on display at the Broadmoor Resort grounds in Denver, Colorado

One thing that caught his attention – and probably the deal-breaker – was X1-R’s relationship with NASA.

After a million dollar research and development program and rigorous testing at the NASA Kennedy Space Centre, X-1R was allowed for extensive use in the Space Programme starting in 1996 as the lubrication solution for the heaviest lift vehicle in the world, the mammoth NASA Mobile Launch Crawler weighing 12 million pounds as well as its preventative maintenance program.

In 2000, X-1R was inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame and has remained as the only oil product in the list.

Aw thought that if Nasa was willing to risk the use of an X1-R lubricant in its billion-dollar projects, there is simply no reason to worry about its applicability on vehicle engines.

So with that mindset, the journey started in 2012 for Aw. Creative Sparx, Inc. was established as the distributing company, steadily growing a customer base that is now believed to have reached at least 500,000 vehicles covering most of the brands.

Two weeks ago, Aw and his sister Bernice who serves as the finance head of CSI were the special guests of X1-R president Terry Craig, Globall Coo Nigel McKenzie and United States COO Jeff Ketchledge at the 35th Space Symposium in Denver, Colorado as a way to recognize their team’s significant contribution in growing the brand.

It was a trip well-deserved as CSI continues to lord it over in terms of pushing for sales annually, having won the Asia-Pacific Distributor of the Year Award for five years in a row.

There was much to learn and at the same time be proud of.

In the razzle-dazzle of rocket scientists, military top brass and game-changers eager to show their creative pieces, the Aws got to validate one of the solid foundations of X1-R’s existence: NASA’s seal of approval further emboldened by its inclusion in the Space Technology Hall of Fame.

“It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the depth of ideas that the Space Technology Hall of Fame has generated through the years,” adds Aw.

The Global Positioning System, fire-resistant aircraft seats, cordless tools, polymer resins, the Direct Broadcast Satellite and scratch resistant lenses all came into the world’s consciousness all because of NASA’s collaborations with its original creators.

The Aw siblings with with former NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao during a private party for Space Technology Hall of Fame awardees

These are the so-called transformed technologies originally developed for use in the space programme that in one way or another have improved the quality of life on earth.

And the Hall of the Fame gives innovators their much-deserved recognition and opens doors to enhancements that can expand horizons.

“The forum was an enriching experience that made us realize the noble intentions of NASA in associating itself with products before it becomes available for commercial use,” adds Aw.

And he believes it also gives dreamers reasons to dream even bigger.

At the conclusion of the forum, visionary and creator Sir Richard Branson made an electrifying presence and briefed a star-struck audience with the latest on his Virgin Galactic project.

When space tourism was perceived to be just a product of sci-fi imagination, Branson is about to make it happen this year as the fireband businessman with interests in no less than 200 diversified companies is sending the first batch of tourists to orbit by December of this year.

Space technology is finding a new direction with people like Branson. And it’s a new association that all the inductees of the Space Technology Hall of Fame should be excited about.

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