Houston, We Have Lift Off!
“It was an incredible experience being able to work on such a unique project. It’s not every day that we get to support NASA!” stated Billy Foulkes, MarineMax Houston Service Advisor.
The MarineMax Houston Service team had the exceptional opportunity to assist in shrink wrapping an Orion crew module test article so that it could be safely transported from Texas to the Plum Brook Station testing facility at the Glenn Research Center in Sandusky, OH for the Ascent Abort-2 flight test.
The Orion crew module mockup will be used for the Ascent Abort-2 test next April at the Kennedy Space Center. This flight test is an integral part of ensuring astronauts are safe by testing Orion’s Launch Abort System (LAS). The LAS is a state-of-the-art crew escape system attached to the top of the spacecraft that will propel the crew module away from the rocket should a life-threatening event arise.
The Orion spacecraft is being designed to take humans beyond the Moon and someday onto Mars. Astronauts will launch aboard the Orion crew module for a journey farther than humans have ever gone during Exploration Mission-2, targeted for 2022.
After initially being contacted, the MarineMax team worked closely with the NASA team to determine all the necessary requirements that would go into such a special assignment. Extensive planning took place to figure out exactly what equipment, manpower, and timeline was needed. Although the project did not involve a boat, shrink wrapping is something that the MarineMax Houston team performs on a regular basis, making them ideal candidates for the job!
As preparations were taking place and the project date was approaching, the service team got more and more excited about helping NASA. Being neighbors to Johnson Space Center, MarineMax Houston has a number of team members who have had family and friends work in the space program, including the granddaughter of an actual astronaut. Sheila Pogue is a Parts Consultant for MarineMax Houston, and her grandfather was William R. Pogue, a member of the last crew of Skylab back in the 70’s. She was very enthusiastic about the project and was part of the crew that helped with the wrap
The MarineMax Houston service team members who participated were:
- Billy Foulkes: Service Advisor
- Jose Vasquez: Mobile Service Technician
- Sheila Pogue: Parts Consultant
- Michael Melancon: Entry Level Technician
- Benjamin Bodin: Entry Level Technician
MarineMax Houston is proud to support their community and is always up for a challenge, no matter how large or small. The team looks forward to using the knowledge they soaked up through the NASA project as they continue to provide top-notch service to the Houston boating community and beyond.