From Martin County to the Moon:
How local business is effecting positive change at home and interstellar.
Article by Michael Syrkus
On December 14th, 1972, U.S. astronauts lifted off of the lunar surface following the final moon walks of the Apollo program. Now, just short of that 50-year anniversary, NASA is preparing to return. With a schedule net launch date of August 29th, the National Aeronautical and Space Administration is hoping its test flight mission- dubbed Artemis 1- will be the launching of a new age in lunar space activity.
Following the completion of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011, the United States has relied on international and private partners to bring its astronauts into space. Additionally, it has been private corporations and military assets that have launched satellites into earth’s orbit over the last decade. Artemis seeks to be NASA’s reentry to the field.
The program’s mission: to return humanity to the moon’s surface and eventually set up outposts both in the lunar orbit, on its crust, eventually creating the needed infrastructure for possible human explorations to Mars. The goals (and challenges) are undoubtedly- out of this world, but a select few in Martin County (FL) have seized the opportunity.
Though Martin County has long been known as a local tech and development center for aviation, 3 local businesses will soon be able to claim that they have been to the moon. Microwave Components LLC, and Smiths Interconnect America’s Inc. are both contributors and partner collaborators in the development and manufacture of the Orion Space Capsule. C M Tool of Palm City is also a partner in fabrication for the SLS or Space Launch System- the rocket system that will propel Orion to our closest celestial neighbor.
The Orion Space Capsule is a three-stage crewed capsule with service module and launch abort safety systems. This design is a culmination of lessons learned from the previous 4 major NASA mission series, integrating advanced technologies for capsule control and communications while also returning to the geometrically beneficial design of a capsule atop a rocket. This design provides for a more economical and practical launch system to get the capsule into deep space. The Orion uses more than 45 miles of cables, advanced circuitry and telemetric devices all to operate the most advanced lunar bound craft the world has seen. Microwave Components, LLC, is one of the world’s leading distributors for connectors and adaptors, antennas, bulk cable and cable accessories amongst other products. Smith’s Interconnect America is a product developer and manufacturer for connectivity devices and operational subsystems used in satellites and ground support technology. It is easy to see how these community members would be great fits to partner with NASA and its contractors, to build this space craft.
The Space Launch System (SLS Block 1), is a multi-system rocket that is comprised of two solid rocket boosters and 4 individual RS-25 rocket nozzles attached to a core stage fuel tank. The liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen rocket system is the largest rocket system ever planned for launch. At more than 8.8 million thrust pounds, the SLS will be able to travel to 24,500 miles per hour, and deliver a max cargo load of 59,000 pounds out of the earths gravitational pull and beyond the lunar orbit. C M Tool of Palm City specializes in the design and machine manufacture or custom hardware for telecommunications, automobiles, aircraft, sub sea vessels and medical equipment. Standing at over 322 feet tall, and having operational capabilities of either a crew capsule or payload Ferring system at its nose, there is little doubt that SLS requires a significant amount of custom parts fabrications.
As the Artemis mission series prepares to launch, there will be millions around the nation and world, beaming with pride over the advancements of man. Martin County residents can stand tall with a bit of extra pride, thanks to our thriving business and tech center- and our neighbors who operate it. The launch is tentatively scheduled between 6:47 a.m. EDT and 8:47 a.m. EDT on Friday, September 23, 2022 or between 11:37 a.m. EDT and 12:47 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, September 27, 2022 from Kennedy Space Center. For the lucky ones who scored tickets to view the launch from the KSC Visitor Complex, you’re are in for an historic event! All others in our area should still enjoy quite a view by looking North North-West approximately 90 seconds after liftoff.