GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – The next chapter in space exploration will begin with the planned launch of NASA’s Artemis rocket on Saturday, and a Grand Rapids company will be keeping a close eye on its success.
Engineers in DornerWorks are developing an important component that is expected to travel around the moon in Artemis 2 mission in 2024 and eventually to the lunar surface.
Director of Business Development Gregg Wildes said the advanced technology shrinks an ethernet switch, which is typically the size of a pizza box.
“What the DornerWorks team has enabled is an ethernet switch on a chip that’s the size of your thumb,” Wildes said. “The team is really passionate and has a lot of ownership around our part enabling that overall mission.”
The device will be in the crew module and is expected to land on the moon on future missions such as Artemis 3.
“They’re specialty chips that are really good for low-power, small-footprint information processing, so you can imagine in a satellite or a space system that has something that’s small that can do a lot of computation, ” said Wildes.
Dançe Gjorgjievski, a senior engineering manager on the project, said the team is working hard to design the important component.
“Basically it enables other modules to be able to connect to the Internet,” said Gjorgjievski. “It will also provide Internet connectivity for astronauts … as a video conference with their families while they are in space.”
Gjorgjievski said the work is continuing to NASA’s very demanding performance standards, but it’s a task they’re happy to take on for the next phase in space exploration.
“It’s been over two years, two to three years of development,” Gjorgjievski said. “For an environment like space where the radiation is extremely high, so we had to make sure we had design practices to mitigate that radiation, as well as have an architecture that fits into the system.”