In mid-February Thermal-VAC CEO Heather Falcone attended a Supplier conference in Washington, D.C., to discuss the ongoing work to complete NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), Orion Crew Exploration Spacecraft, and Exploration Ground Systems. The meeting brought together representatives from nearly 200 suppliers from around the country, each of whom is contributing important work to the program’s success.
About the SLS-Orion project
Once complete, the SLS and the associated Orion craft will be the world’s most powerful and advanced space exploration vehicle. With exceptionally powerful rockets, the SLS will have a carrying capacity that will allow NASA to take the next step in space exploration. The long-term goal is to use the SLS-Orion program to send astronauts back to the Moon and, eventually, Mars.
In its work on the SLS-Orion project, Thermal-Vac has drawn upon its unique experience with NASA’s Space Shuttle program and our great partnership with Aerojet Rocketdyne, which is producing the module’s rocket motors. The SLS’s rockets are directly descended from those used on the Space Shuttle. We dusted off our notes to nickel plate key components of the new rocket motors: 10-foot long tubes that needed to be precisely plated with an even, 0.0001 inch thickness. Our team has also hand-assembled the rocket motors’ heat shields, just as we did for the Space Shuttle program.
About the Suppliers Conference
NASA has called 2020 “A Year of Action.” The February event in Washington was a celebration of all that has been accomplished by NASA and its supplier partners. It was also an opportunity for the leaders of some of the country’s most sophisticated manufacturers to meet face to face.
The first half of the conference day included visits from NASA’s team of astronauts, members of Congress, and representatives from NASA, Boeing, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and others. In the latter half of the day, Heather Falcone and others had the opportunity to go to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress and their staff to discuss their work.
Reflecting on the trip, Falcone said, “Any time you work with a NASA project is special. Working on a project that’s going to eventually get a human being onto Mars is a real privilege. This conference was a chance for many of us who are working on the project to remind our leaders in Washington about how important the project is for American industry.”
“Everyone at Thermal-Vac should be proud to be a part of the SLS. The first launch is going to be something to celebrate.”
If you’d like to learn more about Thermal-Vac or its involvement with the SLS-Orion program, just give us a call.