NASA Administrator Tours Company Assisting With Mars Rover Launch
Highlights Local Firm on Eve of Small Business Saturday
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden toured Kegman Inc. of Melbourne, Fla., one company that supplied technology and engineering support to the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover.
Bolden’s tour of Kegman coincided with the Second Annual Small Business Saturday, a day to support the local small businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country.
“On Saturday, NASA will be launching our most sophisticated science laboratory to date, the Mars Science Laboratory, and the work of dozens of small businesses helped make this happen,” Bolden said. “Even in a project as expansive and with dramatic long-range impact, small businesses like Kegman and nearly two dozen other small businesses around the nation are playing a large role.”
Kegman Inc. is an economically disadvantaged, woman-owned, veteran-owned small business. It monitors and analyzes the wind impact during launch preparations.
The data is used by the mission’s weather officer to determine whether conditions are right to launch the Curiosity rover. The $2.5 billion laboratory will study past and present potentially habitable environments on Mars after it lands on the planet in August 2012.
NASA officials estimate more than 40 American companies, universities and organizations with over 5,000 workers in 31 states and nine countries contributed to the development and construction of Curiosity. Of those companies, at least two dozen are small businesses.
“Curiosity’s mission is to get Mars to give up its secrets,” Bolden said. “But we can’t get Mars to talk without the contributions of companies like Kegman who contribute technology, innovation, component parts and know-how to the project.”
For more information about the Mars Science Laboratory launch and mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/msl
For more information about Small Business Saturday, visit: http://www.smallbusinesssaturday.com