By Brandon Hartman and Kendra Kastelan
Building on the legacy of the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs, Northrop Grumman is pushing the limits of possible with the Artemis program, which will land the first woman and first person of color on the moon. The Artemis missions, fueled by the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, will establish the first long-term presence on and around the moon before taking the next giant leap: Mars. As part of the lunar landing campaign, NASA and partners will begin building a multipurpose cislunar outpost, the Gateway, a lunar-orbiting space station that will provide vital support for long-term human space exploration.
In their own words, three Northrop Grumman employees supporting Artemis reflect on their roles in the next chapter of human space exploration.
Materials and Process Design Engineer, Launch Abort System Abort Motor
By Jocelyn Chu
I work on the Launch Abort System abort motor — one of three motors within the system that fires if there is an issue with the Artemis launch vehicle — and I always say I’m working hard on something that I hope we will never have to use. However, by contributing to that safety system, my team is directly protecting and saving the lives of the Artemis crew.
Being only a year and a half into my career, I did not work on the shuttle program, so Artemis is a completely new adventure for me, just as it is for the astronauts and most Americans. The shuttle sent humankind into orbit; Artemis will go farther into space than ever before, providing us with a more in-depth understanding of the moon, our future in deep space and, eventually, Mars — a challenging endeavor.
At lift-off, I know I’ll be proud of our work. We’re part of the Artemis generation — NASA’s next space adventure — and I’m excited for the quests ahead of us.
Deputy Chief Engineer, Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO)
By Paul Escalera
At a young age, I played with a space-themed LEGO® set, reconfiguring the toy rocket launcher into countless designs. I liked the idea of building things, and throughout my career working in spacecraft design and human spaceflight, it has been an endless frontier filled with challenges, adventure and scientific discovery.
Today, I am the deputy chief engineer for the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO), which is the first habitable element of NASA’s Gateway. Now that humans have been living and working continuously in space for 20 years on the International Space Station, our next mission is to set up shop around the moon, and HALO will be where astronauts will live and conduct research, a critical rest stop for future planetary exploration missions.
While it’s easy to get caught up in the technical details, it’s important to remember that we’re playing a part in the next generation of space exploration. The Artemis mission is one step closer to regular deep space exploration, and as Neil Armstrong showed us over 50 years ago, even the largest leaps start with one step.
Booster Integration Program Manager, Space Launch System
By Charley Bown
As an engineering student, I watched the first launch of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program on television — never suspecting that I would be part of the shuttle team for 27 years and, following the Space Shuttle Columbia accident, help deliver a kit that could repair the shuttle orbiter wing. Today, I serve as the program manager over the SLS booster integration, the team that assembles the twin five-segment solid rocket boosters that will power the Artemis program and America’s return to the moon. When I see Artemis launch, I know I will be in awe; seeing (and feeling) my work light up before me during a launch is my favorite part of the job. Having a viable replacement to the space shuttle, just as the shuttle was to the Saturn V rocket, with bigger capabilities to achieve greater goals is critical. The moon, once our sole destination, is only a stepping stone for Artemis. I am proud to do my part to achieve America’s next great space pursuits and to share in a new era of exploration.
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