(WTNH) — Civilians are now able to fly into space and a small Connecticut family company is making parts that will help you go there.

In a nondescript industrial building in northern Connecticut is a company that helps put rockets into the air.

Kurt Malec is president of United Gear & Machine Company, Inc. in Suffield. He worked in marketing until he returned to the family business 10 years ago.

The company was founded by Malec’s grandfather after he served in World War II. He lived in a Quonset hut right in front of the factory when it first opened.

For decades, the company has made gears for Pratt & Whitney and Sikorsky. Products made there end up in engines and landing gear and are crucial to keeping flying machines in the air.

“It actually has made me feel safer sometimes flying on planes because you realize when it’s a flight safety part, the amount of controls that go around it are from a business standpoint, almost sometimes ludicrous, there’s so much you have to do to make sure it’s made the same way every single time,” Malec said. “But it’s for consistency and it does make you feel safer.”

Malec took over for his father, expanding just as the pandemic was beginning. He said the company has been thriving the past two years, especially as it steps big time into the space industry.

“It’s a really big burgeoning industry. It’s exciting, it’s really fast paced. It has been very stressful but that’s helped us grow…” Malec said.

Only 21 people work there and like many other companies, they are having trouble filling positions.

Malec has fallen in love with manufacturing and says it has a bright future in Connecticut, but there needs to be more of a focus on it.

“For manufacturing, I think it’s just encouraging high school kids to go into the trades and to go into… I think that’s just something that’s important to me is trying to break that stigma of saying ‘there’s something wrong with working in manufacturing.’ It’s a great job, it’s a great path. You can make money, you can be financially independent, and you’ll probably live out of your house without your parents before your friends do.”