GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The next chapter in space exploration is about to begin with the scheduled launch of NASA’s Artemis rocket on Saturday, and a Grand Rapids company will be watching its success closely.
Engineers in dornerworks are developing a major component that is expected to travel around the moon in the sagebrush 2 in 2024 and eventually to the lunar surface.
Business development director Gregg Wildes said advanced technology reduces the size of 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 about the size of your thumb,” Wildes said. “The team is really passionate and has a lot of ownership around our piece, which enables that overall mission.”
The device will be in the crew module and is expected to land on the moon on future missions like Artemis 3.
“These are specialty chips that are really good at information processing with little power and small size, so you can imagine in a satellite or a space system having something small that can do a lot of computing,” Wildes said.
Danche Gjorgjievski, senior engineering manager for the project, said the team is hard at work designing the major component.
“Basically, it allows other modules to connect to the Internet,” Gjorgjievski said. “It will provide Internet connectivity even to astronauts… such as video conferencing with their families while in space.”
Gjorgjievski said the work is ongoing to NASA’s very strict performance standards, but it’s a task they’re happy to take on for the next phase in space exploration.
“It’s been more than two years, two or three years of development,” Gjorgjievski said. “For an environment like space where radiation is very high, we needed to make sure we had design practices in place to mitigate that radiation and have an architecture that fits the system.”