Louisville plant recognized for its contributions to U.S. space program

Louisville plant recognized for its contributions to U.S. space program
American Synthetic Rubber Company has partnered with NASA for nearly 70 years. (Source: Vincent Bradford, WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The only company that makes a liquid needed to help power NASA rockets has operated in Louisville for more than 75 years.

American Synthetic Rubber Company has partnered with NASA for nearly 70 years sending a piece of Kentucky to space with each launch. New missions to space are now possible because of the work done in Kentucky and the company has been recognized for the role it has played in the American space program.

Bill McArthur, a retired NASA astronaut, flew on four missions to space.
Bill McArthur, a retired NASA astronaut, flew on four missions to space. (Source: Vincent Bradford, WAVE 3 News)

What's made at ASRC is the liquid polymer used to keep the fuel together in rocket motors in space. It's a product the company makes exclusively for NASA.

Bill McArthur, a retired NASA astronaut, has flown on four missions to space starting in 1993. McArthur said the liquid works so well it will continue to be used for next launch system that will take the first woman and next man to the Moon.

A diagram of NASA's Space Launch System, the new vehicle that will bring astronauts back to the Moon using the liquid produced in Louisville.
A diagram of NASA's Space Launch System, the new vehicle that will bring astronauts back to the Moon using the liquid produced in Louisville. (Source: Vincent Bradford, WAVE 3 News)

"Once we found we had the best stuff we stuck with it,” said McArthur. “If it hadn't been available we would have had to figure out an alternative. Thank God we didn't need to."

The Space Launch System rocket is the new vehicle that will bring astronauts back to the Moon using the liquid produced in Louisville. ASRC said it's the world's most powerful rocket and will explore space for decades.

McArthur said the next date to launch the SLS is in 2020 and the goal is to send people back to the Moon by 2024 and to start staging missions for Mars in 2028.

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