It was a who’s who in the aerospace industry and not just here in the U.S.
The International Space Trade Summit brought together representatives from five countries and space agencies, joined with NASA Representatives and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Monday in Hartford.
Far from Cape Canaveral or even Houston, Hartford is not the first city to come to mind when discussing space. However, authorities see Connecticut as an important part of the landscape.
“It’s about the next generation of space and here around Hartford we have more advanced manufacturing, more material research than almost any place in the world,” explained Anne Evans, director of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The Greater Hartford area is home many aerospace related companies providing, manufacturing, fabrication and engineering.
With NASA’s plans to return to the moon by 2024, opportunity within the aerospace sector is growing. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates it to be a trillion dollar industry. Opportunities could benefit many Connecticut companies, including Collins Aerospace in Windsor Locks.
“As we contemplate the new kinds of systems we’re gonna need to go back to the moon and then on to Mars, we’re gonna have a lot more business here,” said Dan Burbank, senior technical fellow at Collins Aerospace.
Since NASA’s inception Collins has played a role. Its radios helped Neil Armstrong communicate to the world during the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. Now, 50 years later, Collins is ready to help America return.
“Overall here at Collins it means a lot knowing there’s a huge objective for us to reach.” said Jake Rohrig, Engineer, Collins Aerospace.
There’s a lengthy list of Connecticut aerospace companies, including Ulbrich Steels and Metals in Wallingford and Pioneer Aerospace of South Windsor. For them and other suppliers, opportunity could be an economic launching pad.
“We prefer to do business with local supply houses so most of our supply network is local,” adds Erica Abrahamson, deputy program manager at Collins.
Among the speakers at today’s summit was U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Connecticut). He says it’s not just big corporations like Collins that stands to thrive.
“What we saw at today’s conference was a host of small companies who are primed to supply parts and pieces for everything from rocket boosters to rovers,” said Courtney. “It’s an exciting time to be part of the burgeoning space industry, and Connecticut firms are fully prepared to take advantage of the opportunity.”