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NASA Invites Media to See How Michigan Supports Moon, Mars Missions

NASA’s Space Launch System rocket’s aft liquid oxygen tank (LOX) simulator
Crews move NASA’s Space Launch System rocket’s aft liquid oxygen tank (LOX) simulator for practice stacking maneuvers into the Vertical Assembly Building at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Michigan-based supplier Futuramic created the simulator for Boeing, the SLS prime contractor, and NASA. Technicians and engineers at Michoud will join it to the LOX tank test article and the forward simulator in preparation of the core stage flight hardware final assembly. Credits: NASA/Jude Guidry

NASA and its partners will visit Michigan the week of May 20 to highlight work in the state to build and supply aerospace components for the agency’s deep space rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS). SLS is the only rocket designed to safely send astronauts and large cargo to the Moon and beyond. The agency will launch SLS and NASA’s Orion spacecraft from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in a series of increasingly complex missions to create a sustained presence at the Moon.

Media are invited to tour Futuramic Supplier facility in Warren, Michigan near Detroit at 11 a.m. EDT, Tuesday, May 21, to learn how the company is supporting future missions to the Moon and, ultimately, to Mars.

As a key supplier, Futuramic is helping NASA and Boeing, the SLS prime contractor, to complete assembly of the rocket’s core stage for EM-1 at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Most recently, Futuramic designed and completed initial assembly on both simulators for the liquid oxygen tank and liquid hydrogen tank structural test articles. The two test articles have identical structures to flight tanks that are part of the rocket’s massive core stage. On a mission, the tanks hold 733,000 gallons of propellant to help power the rocket’s four RS-25 engines that will send SLS and Orion to the Moon. During tests, the simulators allow engineers to apply millions of pounds of force to the tanks to test their strength and ensure SLS is safe to fly.

Futuramic also designed, built and installed a tool called the SLS Dome Rounding and Break Over Tool. It precisely rounds a dome before it is moved to the Vertical Assembly Center at Michoud for placement on top or bottom of the fuel tanks. Tools like it, and another used to complete outfitting the engine section earlier this spring, are vital in accelerating the pace of core stage production and keeping it on target for completion in 2019.

Media will have the opportunity to tour Futuramic’s facilities in Warren and interview NASA astronaut Josh Cassada, NASA officials and industry team members about the SLS rocket and Michigan’s role in advancing the agency’s deep space exploration efforts.

Those media representatives interested in attending the event should contact Tracy McMahan at 256-682-5326 or, or John Couch at 586-586-634-6687 or no later than 3 p.m. EDT, Monday, May 20.

Interested media will meet at the firm’s Warren location at 11 a.m. for a tour. Remarks by industry experts and NASA officials will follow.

Attendees must wear flat, closed-toes shoes with no heels. Dress code is business casual. Photo identification is required.

NASA is working to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024. SLS is part of NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration, along with Orion and the Gateway in orbit around the Moon. SLS is the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts and supplies to the Moon on a single mission. More than 1,000 companies across the country and every NASA center are supporting the development of America’s rocket.

Learn more about NASA’s Space Launch System at:

Tracy McMahan
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama
John Couch