Kansas company plays role in NASA’s Artemis 1 moon mission
AUGUSTA, Kan. (KWCH) - The rocket that will one day send a man back to the moon has a Kansas connection. The last time a human set foot on the moon was in 1972. Now, 50 years later, a new mission allows for Kansans to play a role in getting us back there.
On Friday, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson joined Senator Jerry Moran to see how companies in Kansas are playing a role in the Artemis Program.
“I initially wanted to come to see all the aviation here in Wichita. But I’m just blown away by all this. All these parts that they’ve been making in here, that are very much a part of what you’re going to see come off that pad 39 b,” said Nelson. “It’s the largest rocket ever and it’s the beginning of going back to the moon after a half-century.”
On Aug. 29, Artemis 1 will blast off from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral for a test flight. The mission will last 42 days and the Orion spacecraft will travel 1.3 million miles, flying around the moon, before splash landing off the coast of San Diego. It’s the maiden voyage for the Artemis program which is aiming for a manned moon landing as early as 2025.
Staff at DJ Engineering in Augusta said they’re proud to play a role in the launch of Artemis. They provide products that attach to the rocket including the Y-rings for the tank.
“I’ve got goosebumps right now to be a part of this program and to show off what we’re able to do here. Rockets are typically built on the coast. When NASA and our customers come to Kansas to produce large components, that tells us that there’s something here that they can’t get, that they have difficulty finding elsewhere.” said Ryan Hernandez, Vice President of Engineering at DJ Engineering.
Moran said the goal is to diversify the Wichita and Kansas economy.
“We want our workers, our businesses involved in space and in defense. who better to have here than the NASA administrator to demonstrate Kansas’ importance to this program and we have a lot to offer,” said Sen. Moran.
Artemis 1 is shorter than the ones used in the Apollo moon missions of the 60s and 70s but more powerful. The Artemis program will eventually fly people to the moon, but its first mission will be crewless. Three mannequins will be on board but no humans.
“At NASA, we’re not going to launch ‘til it’s right because on this flight, we’re doing the test flight, stress it to the ultimate because come two years from now, we’re going to put 4 human beings up there,” said Nelson.
Copyright 2022 KWCH. All rights reserved.