Dozens of Michigan suppliers build parts for Mars spaceship

Mars (Greg Shirah/NASA)
Mars (Greg Shirah/NASA)

WARREN, Mich. (AP) — Part of NASA’s first manned spaceship to Mars will be made in Michigan.

The government agency’s new Space Launch System that’s being created to transport humans to Mars in the 2030s relies on dozens of Michigan suppliers that build everything from steering to components covers for harnesses and cables, The Detroit News reported.

Warren-based Futuramic Tool & Engineering is the most vital contributor from Michigan.

“They’re working on every major component that’s being assembled,” said Chad Bryant, the Space Launch System’s propulsion manager. “You can’t walk through the plant without seeing Futuramic all around you.”

Futuramic’s Vice President, John Couch, said the company took the job because it was feasible and granted the company a new challenge.

The company once made tooling that modeled metal for the body of every single car in Ford Motor Co.’s lineup. But the automaker outsourced that work to Mexico about 15 years ago, and the supplier was forced to diversify to the aerospace industry.

Futuramic has manufacturing plants in Detroit and Warren that build the parts, which are shipped to NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, where the rocket is being built.

NASA plans to test the rocket in Mississippi next year and has scheduled the first unmanned blast off in 2018 for the first test flight from the Kennedy Space Station.

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Information from: The Detroit News