NASA astronaut Joan Higginbotham spoke to employees at Nazdar, an industrial supplier for the U.S. space shuttle program, on Wednesday, April 4, to thank the employees for their contribution to the space program.
Higginbotham toured Nazdar’s Chicago manufacturing facility, gave a 30 minute presentation describing her work on the Space Shuttle STS-116 Discovery (Dec. 9-22, 2006), answered questions, and presented a commemorative plaque to Jeff Thrall, Nazdar CEO.
“This was a tremendous opportunity for our employees to see the end result of our product,” said Mr. Thrall. “It helps promote a sense of pride in our work, especially when we see the shuttle leave Earth’s atmosphere.”
Astronaut Higginbotham was part of a seven-member Space Shuttle crew on a 12-day mission which continued construction of the ISS outpost by adding the P5 spacer truss segment during the first of four spacewalks. The next two spacewalks rewired the station’s power system, preparing it to support the addition of European and Japanese science modules by future shuttle crews. The fourth spacewalk was added to allow the crew to coax and retract a stubborn solar panel to fold up accordion-style into its box. Discovery also delivered a new crew member and more than two tons of equipment and supplies to the station. Almost two tons of items no longer needed on the station returned to Earth with STS-116. Mission duration was 12 days, 20 hours and 45 minutes.
The visit was arranged by ATK Launch Systems of Brigham City, UT, as part of the NASA Space Flight Awareness program. The purpose of the program is to ensure employees involved in human space flight are aware of the importance of their role in promoting astronaut safety and mission success in the critical, challenging task of flying humans in space.
Nazdar –the largest manufacturer of screen and digital printing inks in North America – supplies marking inks used to identify components on the space shuttle’s solid rocket boosters, manufactured by ATK Launch Systems. ATK’s boosters provide more than six million pounds of thrust as NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery launched into orbit.