Tucson Company Plays Big Role in Artemis 1 Launch

By Carsyn Currier
November 16, 2022

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -NASA’s Artemis 1 soared into space Wednesday morning, kicking off a near month-long journey around the moon and back.

Thousands of people across the country, including companies in Tucson, worked to make this third attempt successful.

Grant Anderson, the CEO of Paragon Space Development, said the launch was both exhilarating and a relief for everyone who worked so hard to make it successful.

The company has been working on this project for nearly two decades, and Anderson said the only regret he has was not being there in-person.

“There is a certain amount of finger crossing going on. Engineers, scientists are not supposed to be superstitious but at least half of them I know cross their fingers anyway. Any way you can help,” Anderson said.

Paragon Space Development here in Tucson helped a lot. The company supplied 75 parts of the Orion capsule.

“Mainly having to do with life support, environmental control, pressure sensor for the cabin pressure and also temperature and flow sensors for thermal controls,” Anderson said.

Anderson says it’s taken nearly two decades to get to this point. In fact, he said the work they did on the Orion capsule has been complete for years.

“We were on the original team that won the Orion program in 2006. That’s 17 years ago,” Anderson said. “The actual parts that flew last night or early this morning for those people on the East Coast were built 7 years ago and were delivered 6 or 7 maybe even 5 years ago.”

Ever since then, the team has been waiting for the Artemis 1 rocket to be complete for the big blast off. After two delays, the only regret he has was not being there in-person.

“I was down at the original launch on the 29th of September and was of course up at 3:00 in the morning to make it out there just to have it cancelled, so I’m disappointed I couldn’t make it for this ride,” said Anderson. “If you ever get to go and witness a live rocket launch, Go do it. There’s no surround sound system, I don’t care how many speakers you have in your house or a movie theater, there’s nothing like actually being there. It brings tears to your eyes so I’m really sad I wasn’t there,” he said.

So far the mission is going as planned.

Now Artemis 1 will orbit the moon before returning to Earth in 26 days.

Article courtesy of Gray Television, Inc.