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Nazdar employees at the company’s Chicago manufacturing facility were treated to a visit from NASA astronaut Joan Higginbotham on April 4. Higginbotham thanked the staff for their contribution to the space program, took a tour, and gave a 30-minute presentation in which she described her work on STS-116 Discovery in December of 2006. She also presented a commemorative plaque to Nazdar CEO Jeff Thrall.

“This was a tremendous opportunity for our employees to see the end result of our product,” Thrall says. “It helps promote a sense of pride in our work, especially when we see the shuttle leave the earth’s atmosphere.” Nazdar supplies marking inks used to identify components on the space shuttle’s solid rocket boosters, manufactured by ATK Launch Systems. The boosters provided more than six million pounds of thrust as NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery launched into orbit.

Higginbotham was part of a seven-member crew on a 12-day mission that continued construction of the International Space Station outpost by adding the P5 space truss segment during the first of four spacewalks. The next two spacewalks rewired the station’s power system, preparing it to support the addition of European and Japanese science modules by future shuttle crews. The fourth spacewalk allowed the crew to coax and retract a solar panel to fold up accordion-style into its box. The Discovery Shuttle also delivered a new crew member and more than two tons of equipment and supplies to the station.

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