Also visits U.S. Army installation
FRANKFORT, KY (June 21, 2016) — Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton visited the Marshall Space Flight Center, Redstone Arsenal and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. Monday to learn more about Kentucky’s pivotal role in national aerospace and military initiatives.
“To many people’s surprise, the aerospace and aviation industry is Kentucky’s number one export. It was instructive to see our involvement in aerospace as well as military initiatives up close and personal,” said Hampton.
Hampton’s day began with meetings at Redstone Arsenal, a U.S. Army installation. Redstone Arsenal employs a diverse workforce of over 38,000 people from military, civilian and contractor backgrounds. Redstone Arsenal accounts for nearly $13 billion of economic impact as they partner with local communities and the state of Alabama on a variety of strategic goals.
“The Redstone Complex arose from a depressed economy by leveraging talent and skills in the area, growing to house a synergistic mix of companies specializing in R&D, logistics, space ops and defense,” said Hampton. “Kentucky can benefit from a similar phoenix approach.”
The meetings were followed by discussions with NASA about Kentucky’s role in the Space Launch System (SLS-1) rocket launch in 2018. According to Scott Broemsen with NASA, Parker Hannifin O-Ring Division out of Lexington manufactures large O-rings that are used in rocket motor cases and nozzle joints to prevent leakage of motor gases. There are 44 large O-rings in each motor, and each O-ring is required to provide independent sealing through ignition and the entire motor burn without blow-by or erosion. O-rings are integral to NASA’s new heavy-lift Space Launch System, as they were during the 30-year Space Shuttle Program.
To conclude the day, Hampton visited the U.S. Space and Rocket Center to learn about their educational outreach efforts to students across the commonwealth. These efforts include Space Camp, Aviation Challenge and Robotics Camp. The overarching goal of these programs is to give students a hands-on learning experience with STEM topics and inspire them to dream big about the future.
“I’m proud to know Kentucky is playing a crucial role in America’s next great rocket launch,” said Hampton. “As NASA continues to innovate and explore humanity’s potential, I’m excited for Kentucky to be a part of that. The sky is truly the limit in terms of the educational and economic impact aerospace can have on our great commonwealth.”