Home Resource Center News and Announcements Materion Materion in Space Materion's Experience in Space Materion has a long history of contributing to the United States' space program. As far back as 1961, our products were helping to propel American astronauts further from Earth than any human before. We were onboard the first Mercury capsule when Commander Alan B. Shepard was the first American to be launched into space. As noted in this cover story in the Brush News Beryl we made beryllium shingles and the most important contribution - the heat shield that made re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere possible. Alan B. Shepard, Commander of the first Mercury capsule was the first American to be launched into space. Here he is being safely removed from the water - our heat shield made of beryllium made his re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere possible.