"Journey to Space" Explores Orion Spacecraft's San Diego Roots | NBC 7 San Diego

"Journey to Space" Explores Orion Spacecraft's San Diego Roots

"Journey to Space" debuts March 27 at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego's Balboa Park



    Miramar-based company San Diego Composites made some major contributions to the Orion spacecraft that will one day visit Mars. Those details are featured in the new film, "Journey to Space," debuting on March 27 at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center. NBC 7's Omari Fleming reports. (Published Thursday, March 26, 2015)

    It's something scientists have talked about for decades, a mission to Mars. And if it happens, some San Diego-based companies may be the ones to thank.

    NASA's efforts to get to Mars are being chronicled in “Journey to Space,” a new movie opening Friday at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

    Featured in the film is the Orion spacecraft, which will one day take astronauts to Mars. The spacecraft includes 25-feet worth of parts made by Ken Mercer and his team at the Miramar-based company, San Diego Composites.

    The lightweight composites are meant to protect astronauts inside the Orion spacecraft

    “This is a cross-section of what protects humans from space,” Mercer explained. “It shields crew from high-thermal acoustic loads and upon egress it jettisons away and leaves crew in the module.”

    The “Journey to Space” film includes more information on San Diego Composites’ role in Orion’s successful December test run, as well as shots of the capsule being hauled into Naval Base San Diego.

    The director of the film, Mark Krenzine, said he was fascinated to learn how much aeronautics and space travel is woven into San Diego’s DNA.

    “San Diego, in particular to aerospace, it’s what Silicon Valley is to the Internet,” Krenzie said.

    By 2030, NASA hopes to put a woman or man on Mars.

    Krenzie is hoping his film's exploration of past and future space travel helps inspire the next generation of astronauts and space travelers.

    “A film like this inspires a young audience to think they can achieve whatever dream they have, especially if it’s a dream that includes science, technology, engineering and math,” he said.

    “The first person to walk on Mars is probably going to do so in about 15 years. That person is in middle school right now, and might be a middle school student in the San Diego area,” added Mark Barthelemy of the National Space Society.

    To get show times for “Journey to Space” at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center, click here.