HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — We’re now just a few days from the first launch window of Artemis I sending the unmanned Space Launch System (SLS) rocket to circle the moon.
And we at news 19 want to shine a light on some of the NASA partners in Huntsville making it all possible.
Landing on the moon is one thing. Getting off the earth is another. The rocket fuel and boosters getting us there for the first time in a half-century is the work of Northrop Grumman.
“We make these two solid rocket motors [on the SLS],” said Space Systems Program Director Jill Eskew. “We also make the launch abort motor and the attitude control motor [at the top of the rocket].”
The Northrop Grumman-built boosters will propel the rocket with 75% of the initial thrust when it’s roaring into the skies above Florida.
“And that’s what’s going to beat against your chest and that’s the part you were gonna feel if you were down there,” Eskew continued.
Eskew says more than a thousand Northrop Grumman employees of all backgrounds have perfected the components over the last decade.
“The easy problems have all been solved,” she continued. “Diversity is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it’s a requirement. The companies that are most positioned to solve tomorrow’s really hard problems are the ones that have the most diverse workforce.”
The launch will be a moment Eskew, a Huntsville native who grew up in the space age has waited a long time for.
“This one, I’ve seen since it was a baby,” she concluded. “And now? It’s leaving the crib.”