A local vehicle solutions company has gotten a contract with NASA to design a vehicle as part of a new launching system to replace the now defunct space shuttle program.
Ken Timmings System Design Inc. in North Lima designed a vehicle for a new balloon launch system for NASA. However, the truck is just one element of the new system, as a consortium of companies partnered to come up with the complete program.
“We’re actually supplying a vehicle that will be involved in launching balloons with higher payloads that will be taking those payloads up to space via helium balloon technology,” said Ken Timmings, manager of KTSDI.
The payloads will weigh up to 20,000 pounds. The balloons will carry equipment and satellites worth millions of dollars into space.
“It entails this element as the truck that is the major brains behind the system prior to launching to ensure the balloon is lined up to the prevailing winds so we get a successful launch,” Timmings said.
The company spent about a year designing and completing the $1 million project.
“There was a lot of pre-planning involved in it. There was a lot of discussion about what parts of it we can handle and how much more we could do for them beyond their expectations,” said Duke Siddle, sales and marketing director for KTSDI.
The beginning stages of the truck are all assembled in the greater Youngstown area, including steel components and fabrications.
The final and finished product will be brought together in New Mexico. The new system will be tested in late summer or early fall, and development of the first payloads is scheduled for next spring in Hawaii.
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