Kansas machine shop builds space capsule for NASA

Posted: Updated:

Astronauts training for future space missions will work in a space capsule built in the unincorporated town of Kipp, southeast of Salina.

The Douglas Welding and Machine Company's primary work is building and selling 30 different attachments for skid steers.  But starting in mid-June, workers started framing a capsule for NASA.

Shop owner, LeeRoy Douglas, says "We build a lot of different things but this is one of our coolest projects we've ever done."  

The opportunity to build the capsule came about from a KSU connection. Dr. Carl Ade is an associate professor at Kansas State University. But while in high school he worked at the Douglas shop in Kipp.  Ade says he knew the guys at the shop can build about anything.

Dr. Ade, along with other K-State faculty, have a $400,000 grant from NASA with the goal of learning how healthy the astronauts have to be after being in space on such lengthy missions. He says astronauts will be weaker after being in space so long, but adds they still have to be able to open escape hatches, deploy a raft and swim to it after landing in the ocean.

He said after the shop in Kipp completes the capsule in the next two or three weeks it will be take to the K-State campus for testing.

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