An engineer with Lockheed Martin will speak at a local library next month about the company’s upcoming space missions, both unmanned and ones expected to take humans to the moon and beyond.
Chris Nie, a systems and integration engineer at Lockheed Martin, will speak at 7 p.m. on Sept. 12 at the Buena Vista Branch Library, 300 N. Buena Vista St., Burbank.
“This is a big step forward for our nation’s human-flight capability,” Nie said Tuesday afternoon.
Lockheed Martin will launch an unmanned test mission next year. The mission, called Exploration Mission-1, or EM-1, will send a newly-built spacecraft called Orion thousands of miles past the moon — farther than any spacecraft built for humans can travel.
Exploration-Mission 1 aims to launch around December 2019.
Nie, a three-year engineer at Lockheed Martin, worked on the environmental-control and life-support subsystems so astronauts will be able to live comfortably in space.
“Lockheed Martin has built a new spacecraft that is designed to be part of the replacement for the shuttle program to get humans into space,” Nie said. “Orion will be used in the first stages of missions to get us to Mars in the 2030s. The first step is to take astronauts back to the moon, and we’ll build an orbiting platform to get to Mars.”
Hubert Kozak, librarian at the Buena Vista Branch Library, coordinated the upcoming free event.
“[The mission] is the first of a series of missions NASA has planned that will eventually get us to the point where we will be able to land human beings on Mars,” Kozak wrote in an email.
Kozak said Lockheed Martin’s history in Burbank dates back to when the company moved into the city in 1928.
“Lockheed was in this town for many years. It developed its corporate life and history in Burbank. There are a lot of people connected to it, and I thought they’d be interested in that,” Kozak said.
“It’s like they left Burbank, but they’re going to Mars,” Kozak added.