Artemis workers celebrate past and future moonshots

REDMOND, Wash. — Space industry contractors in the Seattle area had their turn in the spotlight this week during a nationwide “victory lap” celebrating last year’s successful Artemis 1 round-the-moon mission.

“Without your engines … we can’t go anywhere,” Carlos Garcia-Galan, an integration manager for NASA’s Orion spacecraft, told employees and VIPs at Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Redmond facility today. “We can’t get to the orbit of the moon, we can’t get out of the orbit of the moon, we can’t do any orbital adjustments.”

Aerojet’s Redmond operation provides the auxiliary engines for the Orion moonship’s European-built service module — as well as the reaction control thrusters for the crew module and for the upper stage of NASA’s Space Launch System, the rocket that sends Orion into space. All that hardware goes to Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for Orion.

Lockheed Martin’s Orion program manager, Tonya Ladwig, said Aerojet leads the list of Washington state subcontractors for the space capsule development effort. General Dynamics OTS’ Bothell facility and Mukilteo-based Systima are also high on the list. Ladwig said celebrations took place at all three businesses this week.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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