San Diego company plays key part in the Orion launch - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego company plays key part in the Orion launch

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – A manned trip to Mars would be a huge accomplishment. Such a big mission needs a big backup plan, and that's where a local company's launch abort system comes in.

San Diego Composites made a faring about eight feet in diameter. It protects equipment between the abort motor and the crew module. If something were to go wrong during launch, it pulls the capsule away from any failing rockets.

SDC says their equipment performed flawlessly during Friday's launch. More than 1,000 parts were made at the company's Miramar facility that were incorporated into Orion, from internal components to windows for the crew module.

Three of the company's 45 employees made the trip to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch the successful launch Friday morning.

San Diego Composites Vice President Chris Benzie says she's pleased with how the company's equipment performed.

"The fact that the components that we manufactured for NASA are going to be someday launched into space, land on Mars and give us information about life on Mars is out of this world," Benzie said.

NASA doesn't expect to send a crew to Mars inside of Orion until 2021. For now, Team Orion at San Diego Composite will enjoy celebrating an event five years in the making.

"A lot of long nights went into developing that hardware and building it, and all that work coming to this one moment – a lot of excitement," Benzie said.

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