FALL 2021: 19
crawler for delivering the rocket and Orion capsule to the
launch pad, the Vertical Assembly Building and the processing
facility where Orion was built. The first unmanned flight is set
tentatively for Nov. 22, according to NASA.
“When that big, massive rocket lifts off, it’s going to be due
to the hard work that our workforce at Kennedy Space Center
under the Exploration Ground System Program is doing,”
Petro says. “It’s an amazing honor we’ve been given, and we
have got to deliver on that commitment and get that massive
Another key mission, the Commercial Crew Program,
streamlined travel to the space station, Petro says. In 2014,
NASA chose SpaceX and Boeing for transports to the 22-year
outpost and no longer hitches rides on the Russian Soyuz.
The program allows more scientific research and exploration
to be done on site. Opening low Earth orbits to commercial
ventures is competitive and allows NASA to explore deeper
into the solar system “with a benefit to all of humanity,” Petro
notes, for example, in climate change.
“We’re super proud of that mission,” Petro says. “American
rockets from American soil, and we have a redundant capacity
for getting our great astronauts to the station.”
Leaders with the Kennedy Space
Center and Sierra Nevada Corp.
view the cargo module of the
company’s reusable spaceplane,
the Dream Chaser, at the Space
Station Processing Facility at the
spaceport in September 2019.
Petro signs a solar panel in June to commemorate Florida Power and Light’s
74.5-megawatt solar site, spanning 491 acres at the spaceport. The site sends
energy to 15,000 homes for existing customers.