Local Connecticut aerospace company helped build Apollo 11 space suit

Hartford

(WTNH) — Next door to Connecticut’s largest airport, there is a legacy company that takes “flight” to a whole different stratosphere.

“In Windsor Locks we have about 4,000 people right in this campus right across from Bradley International Airport. Many folks have probably seen the building and never knew what we did,” said Gail Baker, President of Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Space Systems at Collins Aerospace.

Collins Aerospace, then Hamilton Standard, built the astronauts space suit life support systems for the first man on the moon.

They did it then and they are doing it now. The next step is a familiar one, but with a different purpose.

“Going to the moon we think is the next logical step because eventually the moon is going to be the outpost of launching point to get to mars,” said Baker.

The current space suit that Collins aerospace designs is for use on the international space station.

“I love it. I absolutely love it,” said Dan Burbank.

Astronaut Dan Burbank spent six months on the space station, among other missions to space.

“Some of this was wearing this space suit right here that our company is very proud of,” said Burbank.

The basic function is the same, protect the astronaut.

Collins will have to change it for new missions.

“Now when you go to moon or mars where there is a gravity environment – now that suit needs to weigh a lot less,” said Baker.

It will need to be more mobile, astronaut will have to walk and work.

“Its a new challenge,” said Baker.

Safety for extended stays will be required.

“If we are gonna be on the moon – potentially near and equatorial region where you have got 14-day days and 14-day nights and those nights are gonna be as dark and cold as imaginable,” said Burbank.

And ultimately, to Mars.

“With the current propulsion it takes about six months just to get to Mars,” said Baker.

One of many projects putting Connecticut company right in the middle of America’s space programs.

“We are supporting the Starliner vehicle that is going to take American astronauts to the space station. We are supporting the Orion program and the rocket that launches Orion into deep space as well as next generation spacesuits for the moon and mars. So we are busy – but its a good busy,” said Baker

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