HOUSTON, Oct. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Two Connecticut suppliers designing, manufacturing and testing flight hardware for NASA’s Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) rocket in support of human missions beyond the Moon will open their facilities to media Tuesday, Oct. 31.

Artist rendering of the Orion spacecraft post-launch as it hurtles toward the Moon assisted by the powerful Space Launch System rocket.

Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense (EBA&D) in Simsbury and UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS) in Windsor Locks are among the thousands of businesses in all 50 states and Puerto Rico that support NASA’s deep-space exploration programs.

Presentations by leaders from NASA and Orion prime contractor Lockheed Martin to key suppliers are an occasion to share the progress on flight hardware in production, and recognize employees making significant contributions to human spaceflight.

Media are invited to attend an all-hands employee event and will have an opportunity to interview former NASA astronaut Dominic “Tony” Antonelli, and other NASA, Lockheed Martin, EBA&D and UTAS leadership and program officials. During the UTAS portion of the visit, media will also have the chance to tour the company’s facility.

U.S. media interested in participating must contact Laura Rochon at 281-483-0229 or laura.a.rochon@nasa.gov by noon EDT on Friday, Oct. 27.

EBA&D is manufacturing several components for ignition and vehicle separation systems that are crucial to abort safety and mission success on the first flights of the Orion spacecraft. The company also contributes range safety and stage separation systems for the SLS program.

UTAS will provide active thermal control and power management and distribution hardware for the first uncrewed mission, and will add environmental control and life support systems for subsequent crewed missions. For the SLS program, the company builds auxiliary power units and hydraulic systems for Boeing, Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne.

NASA is leading the next steps of human space exploration with a series of deep space missions to the vicinity of the Moon, beginning with the first integrated mission of Orion — America’s spacecraft for the next generation of explorers — and the new heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket in the world.

The first integrated flight test of Orion and SLS will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a three-week uncrewed mission beyond the Moon and back. A second mission will follow with the system’s first crewed mission, which will take humans farther in space than ever before. These missions will help NASA build a flexible, reusable and sustainable infrastructure that will last for decades and support missions of increasing complexity, including to Mars.

Learn more about Orion at:

http://www.nasa.gov/orion

Launch into details about the Space Launch System at:

https://www.nasa.gov/sls

Get information, photos and videos of NASA’s deep space exploration systems at:

www.nasa.gov/journeytomars

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NASA Logo. (PRNewsFoto/NASA) (PRNewsFoto/)

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SOURCE NASA