Rocket Science in Wisconsin Blasts Off Near Baraboo


The Sierra Nevada Corp. recently completed a 20-million-dollar facility on the site of the former Badger Army Ammunition plant near Baraboo. SNC’s goal is to test rocket engines in hope of making it an all-state division.

“Rocket science in Wisconsin is actually happening,” says Tom Crabb, vice president of the SNC’s propulsion and environmental systems. Crabb hopes to implement rocket science as a business in Wisconsin.

One big project that SNC’s Wisconsin division is developing is a rocket engine for the Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser, a self-controlled space shuttle. The shuttle is set to launch in 2021. The purpose of this mission will be to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.

Recently, SNC performed a short countdown on one of the engines. The engine set off for two seconds − enough time to closely investigate the engine’s conditions. This procedure is performed with all of SNC’s rocket engines to avoid any complications.

Aside from providing a new wave of space engineering, SNC plans to add several hundred jobs in Wisconsin during the following years.

Paul Zamprelli is the senior manager of business development for SNC’s propulsion and environmental systems. He says that new test cells are expected to be operating soon. The cells used in these systems can endure up to 150,000 pounds of thrust from an upright engine and is one of only a handful of such systems in the country.

The Badger Propulsion site here in Wisconsin is smaller and less costly than NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. But it is an important addition to science in our state. “It’s a great benefit to have our own facility,” Zamprelli concluded.

[Sources: Madison.com; Wisconsin State Journal]

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