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Businesses Hardware Hacking Space Build

A Space Junkyard 94

Today's Los Angeles Times has an article about a North Hollywood junkyard that stocks a huge quantity of used aerospace parts, from valves to rocket engines. Norton Sales Inc. got started in the early 1960s. The junkyard had fallen on hard times, with the collapse of the Los Angeles-area aerospace economy in the 1980s, but it's making something of a comeback now with NASA's new plans for moon and Mars missions. The customers used to be rich Hollywood types; nowadays they are as likely to be private space entrepreneurs. "It's dangerous coming to a place like this," said Dave Masten of Masten Space. "It's like shopping on an empty stomach."
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A Space Junkyard

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  • by NixieBunny ( 859050 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @02:59PM (#18480417) Homepage
    My current favorite surplus place in LA is Apex Electronics, which is the electronics version of Norton's. Same idea - so much stuff you can't wrap your head around it, and aisles that collapsed in the '94 earthquake and haven't yet been restored to a vertical condition.

    This place looks quite fun to visit. I'll have to check it out the next time I'm in the area.

  • Re:film industry (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hans Lehmann ( 571625 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @05:40PM (#18481479)
    Not to mention that 3D rendering cycle prices went wayyy down. Much cheaper than building lifesize realistic looking stuff in lots of cases.

    From the film industry's standpoint, Norton Sales provides props and set decoration, not entire backdrops. Renting a three foot tall rocket engine for a few hundred dollars to place behind the actors will be cheaper than setting up a green-screen shot for quite some time. Heck, it's probably cheaper to rent the real thing than it is to build a realistic facsimile out of Styrofoam and vacuum-form plastic. If Norton Sales goes under any time soon, it won't be because of cheap CPU cycles.

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