NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew capsule sit on the pad at Launch Complex 39B on June 20 at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. AP from NASA

LEWISTON — Using components from a local company, NASA is getting ready to roll out the Artemis 1 moon rocket Friday, ahead of the latest attempt to launch the rocket carrying the Orion spacecraft to the moon.

The last launch attempt was scrubbed Sept. 26 as Hurricane Ian approached Florida.

In the unmanned mission, the Orion capsule will spend four weeks orbiting the moon and return to Earth. Onboard the capsule will be tungsten heavy alloy ballast weights used for the all-important heat shield, made by Elmet Technologies on Lisbon Street as part of their expansion into the aerospace field. Elmet officials say seven different company parts are on the lunar capsule, weighing between 7 and 33 pounds.

Tungsten is the strongest metal in the world with the highest tensile strength. It’s very dense and has the highest melting point of any metal. Molybdenum has similar properties, but to a lesser degree, which make the metals perfect candidates for applications in the aerospace industry. Elmet Technologies is the only fully integrated U.S.-owned manufacturing facility of tungsten and molybdenum flat and round mill products in the country.

This is not a first for Elmet, which has products in space now, mostly in commercial and military aircraft, rockets and even satellites. This may come as a surprise to most people who know Elmet as the longtime maker of tungsten filament for light bulbs, which it no longer manufactures.

Elmet takes semi-refined tungsten and molybdenum powder, pressure forms and heat treats it into ingots, rod and sheet form, in addition to machining the materials into finished products. For more on Elmet Technologies, see a profile of the company in Sunday’s Nov. 6 edition of the Sun Journal. Courtesy Elmet Technologies

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: